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ABC News Reported ISIS Has “Fake Document Industry” with Passport Machines, Blank Documents

Senators Urge Secretaries Kerry, Johnson to Implement Measures to Detect Fake Docs

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and seven senators called for a pause in the Syrian and Iraqi refugee programs until authorities are able to detect the use of fake passports following reports ISIS has a “fake document industry” with passport machines and blank passports. In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, the senators called for new measures to ensure false documents can be detected during the screening process before any more Syrian or Iraqi refugees are admitted to the United States. The letter was also signed by Senators Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.).

“The threat to the United States posed by ISIS-created Syrian passports is now imminent,” the senators wrote. “That danger will continue to grow so long as our enemies are able to perfect these passports and exploit loopholes in refugee programs. ISIS is an enemy that constantly adapts around our security posture, and there is no room for error when it comes to protecting our citizens from their brutal terror campaign.”

Homeland Security Investigations Intelligence Reports indicate that ISIS has access to “boxes of blank passports,” and just last week ABC News reported that the terrorist group has created an entire “industry” producing fake passports. Senator Kirk has repeatedly called for a pause in the Syrian and Iraqi refugee programs until the Administration can be certain terrorists are abusing the program and sneaking into the United States with fake documentation.

The text of the letter can be seen here and is below.

BACKGROUND:

  • Senator Kirk, with Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), introduced the Defend America Act (S. 2435) to prevent terrorist infiltration of the Syrian and Iraqi refugee programs by thoroughly screening all refugee and immigrant visa applicants for any pro-terrorist social media or other support to terrorist groups like ISIS.
  • On January 20, Senator Kirk proposed three amendments to the American SAFE Act. Similar to the policies included in S. 2435, the amendments would prevent terrorist infiltration of the Syrian and Iraqi refugee program and strengthen the vetting process for refugees by requiring the screening of applicants for pro-terrorism social media. The Administration currently does not comprehensively screen social media posts of those applying for immigrant visas or for entry into the United States through refugee programs. 
  • ISIS has created a whole “industry” producing fake passports according to a recent ABC News report.
  • Homeland Security Investigations Intelligence Report said that ISIS has access to a passport printing machine and blank passports.
  • Two Iraqi refugees arrested in ongoing terrorism investigation, one of whom pledged allegiance on social media to various terrorist organizations
  • At least two of the ISIS terrorists involved in the November 13th attacks in Paris, France, entered Europe by infiltrating refugee flows.

February 3, 2016

Dear Secretaries Kerry and Johnson:

On January 25, 2016, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve publicly warned of the growing terrorism threat posed by ISIS’s “fake document industry.”  As ABC News revealed in December 2015, the Department of Homeland Security’s investigative arm, known as Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), concluded that ISIS terrorists acquired passport-printing capabilities and “boxes of blank passports,” and also warned:  “Since more than 17 months [have] passed since Raqqa and Deir ez-Zour fell to ISIS, it is possible that individuals from Syria with passports ‘issued’ in these ISIS controlled cities or who had passport blanks, may have traveled to the U.S.”

The danger of ISIS terrorists using fake or stolen passports to infiltrate Syrian refugee flows and attack the United States became very real amid revelations that two of the nine ISIS terrorists involved in the November 13th attacks in Paris used fraudulent passports to pose as refugees entering the European Union.  The threat to the United States posed by ISIS-created Syrian passports is now imminent.  That danger will continue to grow so long as our enemies are able to perfect these passports and exploit loopholes in refugee programs.  ISIS is an enemy that constantly adapts around our security posture, and there is no room for error when it comes to protecting our citizens from their brutal terror campaign.

I therefore urge you to suspend the Syrian refugee program until America’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies acquire the capabilities to identify all fake Syrian passports and certify that any potential refugee with a Syrian passport poses no threat to national security.  The security and integrity of America’s refugee program is critical to maintaining the safety of our citizens here at home.  The United States should pause plans to accept tens-to-hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees until the Administration implements a credible plan to detect and identify all fake Syrian passports and to prevent ISIS terrorist infiltration.  Anything less represents an unacceptable risk to the safety of our country. 

Sincerely, 

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk
U.S. Senator Thom Tillis
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy
U.S. Senator John Barrasso
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker
U.S. Senator James Inhofe
U.S. Senator Mike Enzi
U.S. Senator Steve Daines

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