Bauman is correct that the U.S. thoroughly screens refugees, checking databases for their names and fingerprints. However, Syria is a failed state and doesn't have any fingerprint databases to check. Plus, as FBI Director James Comey said at a hearing last month, "If someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home, but there will be nothing show up because we have no record of them."
Still, the process of immigrating to the U.S. as a refugee can take up to three years and likely would not be the preferred path for a terrorist to enter our country. As an editorial published by the CATO Institute notes, terrorists normally enter countries on student visas, tourist visas, or business visas — or as asylum seekers, who are vetted after already gaining admittance into a country.
Still, there is another solution that poses less risk not only to the U.S., but also to refugees. Graham is urging the U.S. to establish safe havens within Syria for those fleeing the violence. "This would allow Syrians fleeing from areas of conflict inside the country to find safety, food, medicine, and shelter, and stay within their borders, nearer their homes, until a political and military settlement has been reached," he said. He added that most refugees he has worked with want to stay in their homeland, rather than find a new home elsewhere. "As we have all seen, fleeing to another country adds great risk to their lives and exposes the refugees to exploitation by unscrupulous people who deal in human trafficking."
The State Department's most recent report on International Religious Freedom supports Graham's assertion, stating that "for most refugees, safe, voluntary return to their homelands was the preferred solution."
Similarly, Kristin Wright, advocacy director at Open Doors USA, said, "We are hearing from Christians on the ground in the Middle East that many wish to stay in their homeland, and we want to strengthen the Christians who remain in these volatile areas."
Of course, if something isn't done to not only contain, but eradicate ISIS, this steady flow of refugees will only increase. As a nation, we must address eliminating ISIS as part of our response to this crisis. Of course, after considering all positions and facts, Christians may come to different conclusions on a proper response. But, I would hope that we would exhibit the same charity towards each other that we should exhibit towards Syrian refugees. Let's allow each other to have different convictions on this matter without calling into question each other's motives and Christianity.