The Conservative Review recently reported that the United States has admitted even more refugees from Somalia than it has from Syria: 3,014 for FY17 and 8,000-10,000 per year for the last two decades. According to, Somali refugee resettlement is up 250 percent under the Obama administration, totaling almost 100,000 Somali refugees since 9/11.

The unrestrained admission of Somali refugees is part of a disturbing trend in U.S. immigration policy: prioritizing the resettlement of refugees ahead of the security interests of the American public. As FAIR has previously noted, successful vetting of any aliens is dependent upon access to information that is reliable and verifiable. Problems arise when attempting to vet people from countries that are unwilling to share information or have few reliable public records. Somalia is one of those countries.

A troubled country located on the horn of Africa, Somalia has long suffered from corrupt government, civil war and militant extremism. Due to the lack of any functioning government, Somalia has become a safe haven for terrorists. The principal extremist threat in Somalia comes from the Al Qaeda affiliate Al Shabab, although other Islamist terror groups are known to operate freely within the country.

In 2009, the Norwegian body that monitors refugee crises reported that, “Although a Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has been established in Somalia, no agencies have been mandated to issue personal documents. Furthermore, there are no registries containing information which can establish the identity of individual citizens.” Over the last seven years, the situation has not improved. In September of 2016, The Economist magazine referred to Somalia as the most-failed state on Earth.

In short, there is no reliable method for determining whether Somalis are who they claim to be; thus, there may be no way to determine what derogatory information may exist with regard to a particular applicant. This may be why the government has made the wrong call in so many cases. In fact, vetting of Somali refugees has been so poor that the government has been accused of “breeding terrorists” in the Midwest, where the majority of these individuals have been resettled.

When will the U.S. government put the security needs of the American public first? Hopefully the new administration will immediately stop admitting people it can’t adequately vet. If it doesn’t, then the United States may find itself facing the same type of public safety crises that Germany, Belgium, and France are now experiencing.