USA To Issue More New Green Cards In Next Ten Years Than Populations of IA, NH and SC – COMBINED…

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Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) 80%

Breitbart News has exclusively obtained text and a chart from the Senate’s Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, chaired by Alabama Republican

The overwhelming majority of immigration to the United States is the result of our visa policies. Each year, millions of visas are issued to temporary workers, foreign students, refugees, asylees, and permanent immigrants for admission into the United States. The lion’s share of these visas are for lesser-skilled and lower-paid workers and their dependents who, because they are here on work-authorized visas, are added directly to the same labor pool occupied by current unemployed jobseekers. Expressly because they arrive on legal immigrant visas, most will be able to draw a wide range of taxpayer-funded benefits, and corporations will be allowed to directly substitute these workers for Americans. Improved border security would have no effect on the continued arrival of these foreign workers, refugees, and permanent immigrants—because they are all invited here by the federal government.

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The most significant of all immigration documents issued by the U.S. is, by far, the “green card.” When a foreign citizen is issued a green card it guarantees them the following benefits inside the United States: lifetime work authorization, access to federal welfare, access to Social Security and Medicare, the ability to obtain citizenship and voting privileges, and the immigration of their family members and elderly relatives.

Under current federal policy, the U.S. issues green cards to approximately 1 million new Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) every single year. For instance, Department of Homeland Security statistics show that the U.S. issued 5.25 million green cards in the last five years, for an average of 1.05 million new legal permanent immigrants annually.

These ongoing visa issuances are the result of federal law, and their number can be adjusted at any time. However, unlike other autopilot policies—such as tax rates or spending programs—there is virtually no national discussion or media coverage over how many visas we issue, to whom we issue them and on what basis, or how the issuance of these visas to individuals living in foreign countries impacts the interests of people already living in this country.

If Congress does not pass legislation to reduce the number of green cards issued each year, the U.S. will legally add 10 million or more new permanent immigrants over the next 10 years—a bloc of new permanent residents larger than populations of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina combined.

This has substantial economic implications.

The post-World War II boom decades of the 1950s and 1960s averaged together less than 3 million green cards per decade—or about 285,000 annually. Due to lower immigration rates, the total foreign-born population in the United States dropped from about 10.8 million in 1945 to 9.7 million in 1960 and 9.6 million in 1970.  

These lower midcentury immigration levels were the product of a federal policy change: after the last period of large-scale immigration that had begun in roughly 1880, immigration rates were lowered to reduce admissions. The foreign-born share of the U.S. population fell for six consecutive decades, from 1910 through 1960.

Legislation enacted in 1965, among other factors, substantially increased low-skilled immigration. Since 1970, the foreign-born population in the United States has increased more than four-fold—to a record 42.1 million today. The foreign-born share of the population has risen from fewer than 1 in 21 in 1970, to presently approaching 1 in 7. As the supply of available labor has increased, so too has downward pressure on wages.

Georgetown and Hebrew University economics professor Eric Gould has observed that “the last four decades have witnessed a dramatic change in the wage and employment structure in the United States… The overall evidence suggests that the manufacturing and immigration trends have hollowed-out the overall demand for middle-skilled workers in all sectors, while increasing the supply of workers in lower skilled jobs. Both phenomena are producing downward pressure on the relative wages of workers at the low end of the income distribution.”

During the low-immigration period from 1948-1973, real median compensation for U.S. workers increased more than 90 percent. By contrast, real average hourly wages were lower in 2014 than they were in 1973, four decades earlier. Harvard Economist George Borjas also documented the effects of high immigration rates on African-American workers, writing that “a 10 percent immigration-induced increase in the supply of workers in a particular skill group reduced the black wage of that group by 2.5 percent.” Past immigrants are additionally among those most economically impacted by the arrival of large numbers of new workers brought in to compete for the same jobs. In Los Angeles County, for example, 1 in 3 recent immigrants are living below the poverty line.  And this federal policy of new large-scale admissions continues unaltered at a time when automation is reducing hiring, and when a record share of our own workers here in America are not employed.

President Coolidge articulated how a slowing of immigration would benefit both U.S.-born and immigrant-workers: “We want to keep wages and living conditions good for everyone who is now here or who may come here. As a nation, our first duty must be to those who are already our inhabitants, whether native or immigrants. To them we owe an especial and a weighty obligation.”

It is worth observing that the 10 million grants of new permanent residency under current law is not an estimate of total immigration. In fact, the increased distribution of legal immigrant visas tend to correlate with increased flows of immigration illegally: the former helps provide networks and pull factors for the latter. Most of the countries who send the largest numbers of citizens with green cards are also the countries who send the most citizens illegally. The Census Bureau estimates 13 million new immigrants will arrive, on net, between now and 2024—hurtling the U.S. past all recorded figures in terms of the foreign-born share of total population, quickly eclipsing the watermark recorded 105 years ago during the 1880–1920 immigration wave before immigration rates were lowered. Absent new legislation to reduce unprecedented levels of future immigration, the Census Bureau projects immigration as a share of population will continue setting new records each year, for all time.

Yet the immigration “reform” considered by Congress most recently—the 2013 Senate “Gang of Eight” comprehensive immigration bill—would have tripled the number of green cards issued over the next 10 years. Instead of issuing 10 million green cards, the Gang of Eight proposal would have issued at least 30 million green cards during the next decade (or more than 11 times the population of the City of Chicago).

Polling from Gallup and Fox shows that Americans want lawmakers to reduce, not increase, immigration rates by a stark 2:1 margin. Reuters puts it at a 3:1 margin. And polling from GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway shows that by the huge margin of nearly 10:1 people of all backgrounds are united in their belief that U.S. companies seeking workers should raise wages for those already living here—instead of bringing in new labor from abroad.

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Big Government, Immigration, Green Cards

Undocumented Immigrant Accused Of Murder In Ohio

August 01, 2015 – (CNN)—For the second time in under a month, an undocumented immigrant has been accused of murdering someone after authorities became aware of their status but did not detain or deport them.

Juan Razo pleaded not guilty this week to an attempted murder charge stemming from a violence-filled July 27 that also included a woman’s killing, an attempted rape and a shootout with officers in Painesville, Ohio.

In addition to allegedly shooting and wounding a woman in the arm, police said that Razo, 35, attempted to rape his 14-year-old niece hours before he shot and killed Margaret Kostelnik, a 60-year-old woman who, according to CNN affiliate WEWS, was the secretary for the mayor in nearby Willoughby for nearly three decades

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BY KEVIN CONLON

(CNN)For the second time in under a month, an undocumented immigrant has been accused of murdering someone after authorities became aware of their status but did not detain or deport them.

Juan Razo pleaded not guilty this week to an attempted murder charge stemming from a violence-filled July 27 that also included a woman’s killing, an attempted rape and a shootout with officers in Painesville, Ohio.

In addition to allegedly shooting and wounding a woman in the arm, police said that Razo, 35, attempted to rape his 14-year-old niece hours before he shot and killed Margaret Kostelnik, a 60-year-old woman who,according to CNN affiliate WEWS, was the secretary for the mayor in nearby Willoughby for nearly three decades.

He will face those charges at a preliminary hearing Monday, the Lake County prosecutor’s office said.

Through an interpreter and his court-appointed defense attorney, Razo admitted at his bail hearing that he had no license, no identification, no passport and that his birth certificate was in Mexico.

“I have somebody who we don’t know who he is, why he is in this country, why he is here illegally and why he allegedly committed a murder,” fumed Judge Mike Cicconetti.

“I can’t set a bond high enough.”

Kate Steinle: San Francisco shooting victim known for thinking of others first

HOLA, a Latino outreach organization based in Ohio, said it was “distraught and deeply saddened by the (alleged) violent acts committed by Juan Razo,” but it said the real issue was Razo’s mental illness, not the status of his green card.

“Juan Razo was not a random illegal alien. His father is a U.S. citizen who has worked in the fields for 40 years. He filed documents for his children over a decade ago and Juan Razo was a beneficiary with an approved petition who has been ‘standing in line’ for his green card for over 12 years. Thus, this is not an issue about immigration, rather it is about the problems associated with adults with mental illness.”

Similarities to San Francisco case

The episode comes on the heels of a national uproar over the death of Kate Steinle, the 32-year-old San Francisco woman killed at random July 1, allegedly by an undocumented immigrant who had previously been deported five times.

The cases are similar in that authorities in both instances were aware of Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, the repeat felon charged with Steinle’s slaying, and of Razo — as well as each of their immigration statuses; both were allowed to go free.

But unlike San Francisco, a “sanctuary city” where officials refuse to honor federal requests to hold people found to be in the country illegally unless they have allegedly committed a crime, officials in Lake County were quick to explain why they allowed Razo to go free just weeks prior to his alleged crime spree.

It was because they had to, Lake County Sheriff Dan Dunlap said.

Local, federal officials deflect blame

When two Lake County sheriff’s deputies approached Razo on July 7 while responding to a call of a suspicious vehicle parked near a golf course, he “was extremely nervous, sweating profusely, and making every attempt to avoid eye contact,” Dunlap said. “When questioned, he provided a false name, was unable to give any type of identification, and he admitted to being in the United States illegally.”

But because no crime was committed, and Razo had no criminal record, Dunlap said he lacked the authority to detain him, so he said a deputy called the agency that did: U.S. Customs and Border Protection. That’s when Dunlap said Razo became uncooperative.

“As the conversations (between Border agents and Razo) progressed, Razo became less and less communicative, and he would not again admit to the Border Patrol, as he did to the deputies initially, that he was in the United States illegally,” Dunlap said Friday. Because he lacked the legal authority to do so, Dunlap said his office “requested the Border Patrol to issue a detainer/hold authorization to keep Razo in custody… (but) Border Patrol would not issue a detainer.”

“Without legal authority to further detain Razo, he was released.”

But the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said that it was the agency that lacked the authority to detain Razo, and points the finger back at the sheriff.

“Border Patrol agents interviewed this individual via telephone at the request of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office … during that interview, Razo was uncooperative and the agents were unable to determine his immigration status,” the statement read. “Without such a determination, the agents had no legal basis to file a detainer to hold the subject. Although the agents offered to meet with the deputies on site and interview the subject in person, the offer was declined and the subject was released.”

‘Exploiting tragedy’

DHS said that Razo’s lack of a record — and the fact that he had been in the United States so long — meant he wasn’t a top priority.

“The (Obama) Administration has set enforcement priorities to make sure our resources are focused on apprehending and removing convicted criminals, gang members, recent border crossers and the most significant threats to public safety and national security.”

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump used Steinle’s death to push his campaign’s tough stance on immigration, including building a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. It appears the Razo case would be no different.

“This is a clear indication of why we need a strong wall protecting our border,” read a statement CNN affiliate WEWS obtained from campaign spokesman Corey Lewandowski. “Mr. Trump is an outspoken critic of illegal immigrants coming over our borders. That’s why it’s so important to have a wall that is impenetrable.”

HOLA disagreed.

“We are disappointed to see leaders exploiting this tragedy to promote a political agenda,” it said.

Immigrants and crime: Crunching the numbers

Luis Gutierrez Explodes on Center for Immigration Study’s Expert During Testimony

Democratic Rep.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) 20%

 used his time testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday to furiously denounce the Center for Immigration Studies’ Jessica Vaughan, after she turned his dismissal of Kathryn Steinle’s murder as “a little thing” against him.

Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies, testified about the dangers sanctuary policies pose to Americans when local jurisdictions refuse to hand over illegal aliens to immigration authorities, or even detain them.

“As someone who has also lost a close family member,” Vaughan said, “my brother, because of a negligent act by a sworn law enforcement officer and also a bad policy — and I should add that the offense that was committed was one that some on this committee would call a ‘minor traffic offense’ that killed my brother, I have to say that it is really not OK to refer to these tragedies as a ‘little thing,’ as one member of this committee has.”

This reference was to Gutierrez, who brushed off Steinle’s murder during a July 16 interview with Telemundo. After a reporter cited the killing in relation to sanctuary cities, he responded: “Every time a little thing like this happens, [Republicans] use the most extreme example to say it must be eliminated.”

Vaughan continued, “I have a friend. Her name is Heather. A few years ago, she was carjacked at knife-point and taken to Roger  Williams’ Park in Providence, Rhode Island, and raped repeatedly by an illegal alien who had been in the custody of the Providence Police Department more than once,” but was released thanks to a mayor’s sanctuary city policies.

“This was not a ‘little thing,’” she declared. “I have other friends, some in this room, who can tell similar stories. And I’m afraid Congress is about to get away with doing just a ‘little thing’ just by barring funding from these sanctuary jurisdictions, some funding. And I’m asking you today to not be satisfied by just doing a ‘little thing.’ This big problem requires you to have the courage to do a bigger thing.”

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Gutierrez was spitting mad.

About three minutes into his testimony, he asked to re-read a statement he made at another hearing. He began to read in an increasingly angry tone.

“I just want to, just for the record, because I think it is very important –” he paused, glaring daggers at the audience, likely at Vaughan. “Listen to this,” he demanded, with another pregnant pause. He then read aloud a statement he made during a July 14 hearing.

“‘I want to say to you, Mr. Gowdy, that I feel the same anguish and pain that I know the secretary does, and every American should at the death of that woman,’” he read. “That nobody has come here to look for excuses or anything else. I mean, this is a career criminal we have on our hands… This man is not an immigrant. Immigrants come here to work hard, sweat, and toil,” he read in staccato, before rushing on: “We should be warm and welcoming them; this man is a foreigner who has come to cause damage.”

He appeared to calm himself somewhat before stating: “‘Let’s fix our broken immigration system, so we can get rid of foreigners who come here to cause damage, harm and welcome immigrants.’”

“That is my statement,” he said, waving a piece of paper. “I’d just like to put it in the record, once again, because apparently Mrs. Vaughan didn’t read it,” he snarled. “Or take the time to read it.”

“Secondly, on the floor of the House of Representatives, on July 9, quote — and this is in the record, and I’d like to put it in the record once again, because apparently Mrs. Vaughan doesn’t read,” he spat, “what is actually said, in the English language, in the English language, that I have said.”

This was a deeply disingenuous thing for Gutierrez to say about Steinle’s murder: In English, he said he could “only imagine the grief her family is feeling” on the Congressional record. One week later, he said in Spanish her death was “a little thing.” Politicians talk out both sides of their mouth, but thanks to mass immigration, the U.S. can see its elected representatives do so in different languages.

Gutierrez accused Vaughan of “exploiting” Steinle’s death by pointing out that defiant local authorities refused to cooperate with immigration law enforcement, and that Gutierrez himself scoffed at her murder.

Gutierrez, always audacious, adopted Steinle’s murder as a way to plug his own political career.

“Apparently,” Gutierrez said as he removed his glasses and gathered himself up in a fury, “people have decided to besmirch people’s reputation, and take their words, and exploit the death of a beautiful young American woman. And I will not simply stand here and remain silent while that happens. You may not believe that we should have, Mrs. Vaughan, a fixing of our broken immigration system. But don’t exploit a young woman’s death in order to receive a paycheck to put food on your table.”

That Americans have lost beloved family members to illegal aliens made no impression on Gutierrez. He demanded Vaughan stop talking about immigration altogether.

“You should find a more decent and practical way about going about your living,” he shouted.

And then Gutierrez turned to her grieving father.

“To Mr. Steinle, I am so sorry about the death of your daughter,” he said, putting a hand to his heart. “I assure you I have a 36-year-old, and a 27-year-old, and I love them dearly. And I can never imagine losing them. And I will work to make sure we fix this immigration system. And the situations like the ones you suffer never happen again.”

“That has been my record in the past, in working with the members of the minority and the majority in this House. And I take great offense at anyone suggesting otherwise,” he concluded.

WATCH:

Email Katie at kmchugh@breitbart.com. Follow her on Twitter: @k_mcq.

Mom whose son was murdered by an illegal, “This was our family’s 9/11 terrorist attack….”

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Laura Wilkerson’s son Josh was killed by a classmate in the United States ILLEGALLY from Belize. Since then, she has been lobbying lawmakers about immigration laws, telling the sad, gory details of his death over and over to any federal or state committee that will have her.

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The Pearland teen was found dumped in a Fort Bend County field in 2010. He had been strangled, suffered multiple fractures to his face and was burned. His assailant, who is serving life in prison, told the jury he was angry because the boy kicked his dog.

“This was our family’s 9/11 terrorist attack by foreign invaders,” she testified last week in front of a U.S. Senate judiciary committee. “Americans are dying daily at the hands of criminals we don’t even know are here.”

It wasn’t until billionaire presidential candidate Donald Trump inflamed the national debate on immigration, referring to immigrants here illegally as killers and rapists, that Wilkerson said she felt like anyone was listening. Trump’s comments, following the fatal shooting of a woman on a San Francisco pier earlier this month, helped launch him to the top of the polls. He denounced the city’s so-called sanctuary law for allowing the suspected shooter,His infamous words on immigration hit home for mom who lost her son.

Last Thursday the U.S. House passed legislation on partisan lines that would withhold federal funding from states and cities with policies inhibiting the enforcement of immigration law or that prohibit law enforcement from inquiring about someone’s immigration status.

That would include Houston, which since 1990 has banned officers from asking about someone’s legal status. Its written policy allows police to contact immigration authorities only if someone is arrested on a criminal charge greater than a Class C misdemeanor and the officer knows the person is here illegally. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office has also prohibited such inquiries since 2009, as has San Antonio police. Under a federal program, however, everyone booked into any city and county jail in the state automatically has their fingerprints sent to a Department of Homeland Security immigration database.

We need this in place and now. Our kids do not deserve to die because of a problem within our control. Help support the folks making this happen. It can be reversed.

Written by Katie McGuire. Send your hate mail to the author at katiefmcguire@gmail.com, or feel free to mean tweet me at @GopKatie, where I will be sure to do very little about it.

ISIS Plans Massive Attack in India and Provoke ‘End of the World’ – “Armageddon”, ‘apocalyptic confrontation’ with America

ByPAMELA GELLER on July 29, 2015
isis army

A recruitment document has revealed the Islamic State’s (ISIS) “grand ambition” to ignite a war in India, build a new terror army in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and provoke an Armageddon-like “end of the world” situation.

The document also urges the world to ‘swallow the bitter truth’ that the caliphate will survive and prosper until it takes over the entire globe and beheads every last person who rebels against Allah.

Obama’s response? His Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson said — wait for it — that the government will call such attacks “violent extremism” over “Islamic terrorism” out of respect for the Muslim community. Jeh Johnson  announced this policy mandate at a national security conference on July 23.

Be afraid, my fellow Americans.

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“Why do you, and the Obama Administration, describe this as violent extremism and not – and refuse to use the phrase – Islamic extremism?”

Johnson responded, “I believe strongly – and I hear this over and over again from Muslim leaders in this country – that to refer to ISIL as ‘Islamic extremism’ concedes too much. It dignifies them as occupying some part of the Islamic faith, which is about peace.” Really, he pulled out that old line.

He further stated, “And so if you call it ‘Islamic anything,’ uh, we are dignifying this terrorist organization with occupying a part of the Islamic faith which Muslims in this country I know, push back very strongly on,” Johnson said. “So If I went into these [Muslim] communities calling it ‘Islamic extremism,’ I’d get nowhere.”

Lizza pushed back, “Isn’t the government denying the fundamental religious component of this kind of extremism by not using the word, ‘Islamic’?”

He added, “To some people, it sounds like political correctness.” To most people, really.

“I could not disagree more,” Johnson retorted.

Johnson then went on to state the alternative to identifying Islamic terror as Islamic:

“And so here domestically, I think it’s critical that in order to build our relationships and build our level of cooperation with the Islamic community here. Um, we have to say to them ‘Look, we understand that what this depraved terrorist organization is doing is no part of your religion.”

ISIS must be reeling at the Obama administration’s superior knowledge of Islam.

Boom.

A rose is not a rose and if you say it is a rose, you are a hater and a bigot.

“New ISIS document reveals ‘grand plan’ to wage war in India, trigger ‘Armageddon,’” Business Standard, July 29, 2015 (thanks to Narain):

A recruitment document retrieved from Pakistan’s lawless tribal lands has revealed the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) ‘grand ambition’ to ignite a war in India, build a new terror army in and and provoke an Armageddon-like ‘end of the world’ situation.

The 32-page-document, titled ‘A Brief History of the Islamic State Caliphate (ISC),’ has been obtained by American Media Institute (AMI), and says that ‘The Caliphate, according to the Prophet’, seeks to unite various terror factions in Afghanistan and Pakistan into a single army, the Today reports.

The document, which highlights a ‘never-before-seen’ history of the ISIS, describes future battle plans and urges Al Qaeda to join the group. It says that the self-styled Islamic State leader should be recognised as the sole ruler of the world’s one billion-strong Muslim population under a religious empire called, ‘caliphate’.

It also warns that ‘preparations’ are on for an attack in and predicts that an attack will provoke an ‘apocalyptic confrontation’ with America.

The document also urges the world to ‘swallow the bitter truth’ that the caliphate will survive and prosper until it takes over the entire globe and beheads every last person who rebels against Allah.

U.S. officials are concerned about the recruiting efforts of the ISIS, as the group has stepped up its online outreach.

Confronted with efforts by the Islamic State to inspire Americans to commit violence, the F.B.I. in recent months has apprehended people suspected of being Islamic State sympathizers soon after they came onto the government’s radar.

The F.B.I. has arrested and charged at least 25 people in the past three months with having ties to the Islamic State or other terrorist groups, compared with 20 people arrested over the previous year, according to court records.

The revelation came after former Punjab DGP K P S Gill claimed that the terror attack that took place in Gurdaspur, Punjab recently was carried out under the umbrella of the ISIS.

At least six people were killed and nine injured after three terrorists, who were armed with mortars and night-vision devices, apart from AK-47s, crossed the Ravi on the border and came to Dinanagar by taking the route to the railway track.

The GPS devices showed they were activated at Talwandi Point in Gurdaspur’s Parmanand village and their next target was civil lines in Gurdaspur town, around 25 km from Dinanagar.

– See more at: http://pamelageller.com/2015/07/isis-plans-massive-attack-in-india-and-provoke-end-of-the-world-armageddon-apocalyptic-confrontation-with-america.html/#sthash.7QI6y8Nd.dpuf

Homeland Security under investigation for massive ammo buys – *(WONDER WHAT THEY ARE NOT TELLING US ABOUT THIS SITUATION . . .

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I wonder what  all the ammo is for…

The Department of Homeland Security is under investigation for purchasing large stockpiles of ammunition, days before legislation was introduced that would restrict the amount a government agency can legally buy.

DHS officials have repeatedly denied stockpiling ammunition, but AP reports claim that the agency plans to buy more than 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition over the next four or five years, and has already bought 360,000 rounds of hollow point bullets and 1.5 billion rounds in 2012.

DHS claims that it is buying ammo in bulk to save money, but experts have pointed out that hollow point bullets cost nearly twice as much as full metal jacket rounds. They also explode on impact for maximum damage, which has caused some Americans to wonder what purpose they would serve the DHS domestically. Purchasing 1.6 billion rounds of ammo would also give DHS the means to fight the equivalent of a 24-year Iraq War. Members of Congress say the DHS has repeatedly refused to tell them the purpose of procuring such large amounts of ammo.

“They have no answer for that question,” Congressman Timothy Huelscamp told Infowars in March, pointing out that the purchases are being made at a time when sequestration should be limiting the agency’s spending. “…We’re going to find out… I say we don’t fund them until we get an answer.”

DHS officials testified last week that it was only planning to purchase up to 750 million rounds of ammunition for training centers and law enforcement over the next five years. The agency’s spokesman, Peter Boogaard, told Congress that the media reports are ‘misleading’. But Boogard also mentioned a second five-year contract for up to 450 million rounds of ammunition for law enforcement purposes. Together, the two DHS contracts for ammunition would result in purchases of up to 1.2 billion rounds of ammo.

“With more than 100,000 armed law enforcement personnel in DHS, significant quantities of ammunition are used to support law enforcement operations, quarterly qualifications, and training, to include advanced firearms training exercises,” Boogard said.

But the DHS testimony did not provide an adequate explanation for the large amount of ammo it plans to procure, prompting a GAO investigation at approximately the same time as the introduction of the AMMO Act.

SURGE OF SYRIAN REFUGEES INTO USA STIRS SECURITY FEARS…

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BY KELLEY BEAUCAR VLAHOS

Syria’s bloody civil war has brought the country’s largest number of refugees and asylum-seekers to the United States in a decade, and thousands more are expected in 2016.

But with the influx comes mounting concerns over whether the Obama administration can properly vet them, and keep out those with terror ties seeking to exploit the system. Lawmakers are worried that not only is Syria the headquarters of the Islamic State, but that the country’s state of chaos makes screening refugees that much harder.

“I agree that the vast majority of Syrian refugees do not have ties to terror groups,” Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who chairs the Homeland Security Counterterrorism and Intelligence Subcommittee, said at a recent hearing. “However, we have been reviewing the current security vetting procedures for a number of months, and I have a number of concerns, not the least of which is the lack of on-the-ground intelligence necessary to identify terror links.”

According to the State Department, 968 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the United States this year alone — with the goal of bringing upwards of 2,000 in by the end of 2015. Before the start of the civil war, the number of Syrian refugees entering the U.S. each year typically was under 30.

In addition, as of March, more than 1,500 Syrians have been granted asylum in the U.S. since the start of the war, according to the latest figures provided to FoxNews.com by the Department of Homeland Security. By contrast, the number granted asylum in 2009 was 11.

The difference between the two categories is asylum-seekers are fleeing specific persecution and file for protection once getting to a host country; while refugees must apply for entry and be approved in advance, typically from a refugee camp or other place outside the host country.

More on this…

  • US, Turkey plan new campaign against ISIS

The United States for decades has accepted both categories of people fleeing wretched conditions in their home countries. But the resettlement of refugees from Syria is a unique challenge.

King noted heightened terror alerts involving ISIS recruitment and active terror plots here. “The U.S. has seen the danger of flawed refugee vetting, as well as the potential for refugees to be radicalized once they are in the U.S.,” he said, pointing to the Boston Marathon bombers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who settled here from Dagestan and Kyrgyzstan.

But Anne C. Richard, State Department assistant secretary of state for population, refugees, and migration, told FoxNews.com that Syrian refugees are subjected to the same enhanced screening as anyone from that part of the world. That’s why it takes upwards of two years or more for adults and their families to get here once they apply.

“It is not a fast-moving process,” she said. “We have a very careful, very deliberative process.”

She notes that nearly 4 million people have fled the civil war in Syria as of March 2015. Embattled President Bashar Assad’s crackdown on the Sunni population, coupled with the ruthlessness of the Islamic State, has squeezed the Syrian people and sent them to the squalor of refugee camps in neighboring countries. Currently, according to USAID, there are 1.2 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon; 1.7 million in Turkey; 727,300 in Jordan; and 246,800 in Iraq, which is still reeling from its own conflicts.

King says Syria’s “failed state” is the very reason why it’s impossible to trust the screening.

At the same June hearing, Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, noted he sent a series of letters to the White House this year warning against accelerating the acceptance of Syrian refugees. McCaul said the White House “was vague” when he asked about current screening procedures.

“Terrorists have made it known they want to manipulate the refugee program to sneak operatives to the West,” he said, using the example of two Iraqi Al Qaeda members discovered in 2009 living in Bowling Green, Ky., where they were brought as refugees.

David Inserra, policy analyst for homeland security and cybersecurity issues at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said people have a right to be concerned.

“Whenever you are looking at folks coming from a war-torn region and there are groups there — whether it be IS, [Al Qaeda], al Nusra — it can be difficult to do the background checks, to find out if they are who they say they are,” he told FoxNews.com. “However, there are things we can do, and the U.S. agencies working on these cases work with various other international partners and organizations to do the proper checks. But it is a challenge.”

Syrians are a tiny minority compared against the 69,909 foreigners who were resettled in the U.S. in 2013, the most recent numbers available. In that year, while only 36 Syrians were granted refugee status, 16,299 Burmese were resettled here, the largest number from any one country. Others coming from “high risk” countries with ties to terror groups included Iranians (2,579), Iraqis (19,487), and Somalis (7,608).

Meanwhile, that year the U.S. granted asylum to 3,102 Egyptians, representing a sharp, post-Arab Spring rise — before the 2011 revolution, the number of Egyptians granted asylum in the U.S. every year typically numbered in the hundreds.

Advocates like the International Rescue Committee (IRC) have been urging the U.S. to accept thousands more from Syria, noting that 12.2 million are now in dire need of humanitarian assistance. The United Nations estimated last August that 191,000 had already been killed in the conflict.

“Every day, survivors of torture, women widowed by the Syrian conflict, children traumatized by war and others tell (IRC) and other nongovernmental organizations that they think the world has given up on them,” David Miliband, IRC president, wrote in an op-ed earlier this year. “The United States is in a position to help by swiftly expanding resettlement and encouraging other donor states to follow its example. The moral choice is clear.”

Richard said the program is welcoming the weakest and most vulnerable, which means female heads of households, those with medical needs, and persecuted people typically get through first. But all are subjected to layers of checks involving not only the State Department, but the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

“We cannot be naïve about terror screening,” Richard said. “State Department officials themselves have been the target of terrorists’ threats so I don’t think anyone thinks that somehow we should skip over careful screening.”

She said Congress continues to have input — though it does not have the final say in the number of refugees or where they come from.

At another House homeland security hearing earlier this year, FBI Assistant Director Michael Steinbach cautioned that databases are lacking information on some of these applicants, “and that’s the concern.”

Richard said: “The better outcome of this would be that peace comes to Syria and people could go home, but no one predicts that anytime soon.”