Some are calling it the “height of hypocrisy,” bordering on demagoguery.
Nikki Haley, South Carolina’s Republican governor, came out last Thursday and blasted possible White House plans to bring Guantanamo Bay prisoners to her state.
The governor called a news conference and didn’t mince words.
“We are absolutely drawing a line that we are not going to allow any terrorist to come into South Carolina,” Haley said. “We are not going to allow that kind of threat, we are not going to allow that kind of character to come in.
“My job is to protect the people of this state, and I take that very personally,” she continued. “I will take that personally the entire way through, so that the president, the Congress and anyone involved in this decision understands they are not wanted, they are not needed, and we will not accept them in South Carolina.”
Yet, at the same time she was drawing a red line against Gitmo terrorists who would stay locked in a brig off the coast of Charleston, Haley was opening her arms wide to welcome “refugees” from jihadist strongholds in the Middle East and Africa.
World Relief, an evangelical aid agency that gets paid by the federal government to resettle refugees in the U.S. from places like Somalia and Syria, hatched plans more than a year ago to add Spartanburg, South Carolina, to the list of more than 190 U.S. cities receiving foreign refugees.
As WND has reported in a series of more than 35 articles over the past year, the refugee program has been fraught with problems. Chief among them has been young men entering the U.S. as refugees and turning out to be terrorists. Some, such as the two Iraqis in Bowling Green, Kentucky, or the Uzbek man resettled in Boise, Idaho, harbored ill intent against America from day one. But others, such as the six Somalis from Minnesota who were arrested after repeatedly trying to join ISIS, or the two brothers who bombed the Boston Marathon, were radicalized after they came to the U.S. as young boys.
According to a document released Aug. 11 by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., at least 72 cases have been documented in just the past year of suspected Muslims arrested on terrorist-related charges. Sessions is asking the Obama administration to clarify their immigration status but all are believed to be either immigrants or children of recent immigrants.
So when World Relief’s plans were finally made public in March, it set off a wave of grassroots opposition in Spartanburg. Residents were angry they had not been consulted about the new arrivals, nor were they given information on the impact refugees will have on schools, housing and labor markets. Not to mention the national security risks that almost nobody wanted to talk about.
Haley has come down on the side of the State Department and the refugees, saying she trusts the vetting process, despite hundreds of arrests and active investigations involving refugees or children of refugees across the U.S. She has chosen to believe the State Department over the FBI, which is responsible for screening the refugees and warned that in some cases it’s an impossible task.
Haley also seems content to ignore the warnings of Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee. McCaul has expressed serious concerns about the Syrian refugees, calling the program a possible “jihadist pipeline” to the U.S.
While Haley has thrown out the welcome mat for potentially thousands of Muslim refugees who will walk the streets of South Carolina cities, she has condemned in the strongest words any plan to allow Gitmo prisoners.
South Carolina activists say they wish Haley would be as willing to go to the mat for citizens’ safety when it comes to U.N.-selected refugees as she is with regard to Gitmo prisoners.
“Gov. Haley made a big deal out of saying no to Gitmo. It was an angry Haley on the air, every TV station, angry about the possibility of Gitmo prisoners coming here,” said Christina Jeffrey, co-founder of Spartans for Biblical Immigration who has helped lead the grassroots effort against the refugee program in Spartanburg.
“Those Gitmo prisoners, they’re going to be locked up, not living next door to anyone, not going to our schools, our stores or anywhere they can do us any harm; they’re going to be locked up,” Jeffrey said. “The refugees are a much bigger threat to the community and she says she supports that program and trusts the vetting process.”
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