The civil war in Syria has caused one of the largest displacements of persons in recent history, creating humanitarian, political, and security challenges that the United States and its allies now confront. More than half of Syrians—some 12 million—are displaced. Of that number, more than 4 million have fled Syria’s borders, with millions living in neighboring countries in the region. Hundreds of thousands more are trying to make their way to European countries in order to claim asylum and approximately 1,500 Syrians have received asylum in the United States.
Meanwhile, as EU and U.S. leaders work to address this flow of refugees, the Islamic State extremist group has boasted of disguising thousands of terrorists as refugees in order to infiltrate them into Western countries, and a recently released report by the House Homeland Security Committee’s bipartisan task force found that international efforts to secure borders and stem the flow of foreign fighters have been woefully ineffective.
The Bipartisan Policy Center hosted a discussion on the humanitarian and security dimensions of the refugee crisis and how the two can be balanced and should be reconciled to create a coherent U.S. and global policy response.
Deputy Director, Refugee Admissions
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, U.S. Department of State
Senior Resettlement Officer, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Washington Office
Senior Fellow, German Marshall Fund
Former Deputy Special Representative to Muslim Communities, U.S. Department of State
Dr. Lorenzo Vidino
Director, Program of Extremism
George Washington University’s Center on Cyber & Homeland Security
Director for Advocacy, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
National Editor, POLITICO