Mayor Rick Kriseman of St. Petersburg has decided to put political dogma ahead of the safety of the citizens of his own city. Last week he joined the small group of politicians who have chosen to attack common sense refugee screening, rather than ensure security for St. Petersburg. Kriseman is showing that his highest consideration is politics. He ensures that his views align with those on “his team”, in this case President Obama and other extremist liberal democrats. St. Petersburg is part of a bedroom community for the headquarters of Central Command and Special Operations located at MacDill Airforce Base in Tampa. Centcom and SoCom are running airstrikes and special ops teams against ISIS and are fighting the war on terror in general. As such the Tampa Bay area is a high value target. If ISIS operatives slip through the cracks and attack Tampa Bay targets the only question Kriseman will ask himself is: who else can he blame?
Kevin King, Mayor Kriseman’s Chief of Staff, was contacted by the Sunbeam Times and stated it was “unlikely we are going to get a whole lot of refugees in St. Pete.” He stated that Kriseman’s “position is philosophical, and he is in agreement with President and Mayors and Governors around the country who agree [that refugees should be allowed] under the current system. Mr. King advised the Sunbeam Times that the Mayor “trusts the system that screens the refugees” currently in place.
King was asked for the Mayor’s view on the bill passed by the US House last week. The House of Representatives passed a common sense bill (HR 4038) to ensure stronger screening of refugees from Syria and Iraq. Some more security minded people have criticized even that bill as too weak. The bill passed with a veto-proof 66% of the House in approval, but faces a tough battle in the Senate. The bill states:
“The covered alien may only be admitted to the United States after the Secretary of Homeland Security, with the unanimous concurrence of the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Director of National Intelligence, certifies to the appropriate Congressional Committees that the covered alien is not a threat to the security of the United States.”
The Director of the FBI told Congress last month that there were gaps in the screening data. Mr. King stated that the Mayor likely hasn’t read the bill, but he is not a fan, since it slows down the process (of bringing refugees into the country). “He doesn’t believe the process needs to be any stricter based on what he has read and what he has heard”, said Mr. King. The Mayor’s Chief of Staff was asked how Kriseman would respond to those with concerns that the current screening is not strict enough and if the Mayor should take action to ensure a stronger screening? Mr. King responded that stricter screening was “not his style.” And “it is about his belief system and that we should trust the system.” Today and last week Syrians were detained in Laredo, Texas and Pakistani’s and Afghani’s were detained in Southern Arizona. Last week Syrians with false passports headed to the US were detained in Honduras and other Central American locations.
Mr. King was asked if people had valid concerns about ISIS terrorists who may infiltrate the city as a refugee. He was reminded that at least one of the Paris attackers registered as a refugee (the BBC confirmed a second yesterday). Mr King stated, “We don’t see this becoming an issue here in this city and if it is he [the Mayor] will work with non-profits and federal government to make sure people are in a good place”. Mr. King was asked if the Mayor should support stricter screening but offered, “that is not his style to single out one instance and have a position that impacts a whole group of people.” Mr. King also indicated that the Mayor would not agree with the approach taken by Mayor Giuliani after 911 to place undercover agents in local mosques to monitor for budding terrorist activity.
The Mayor was interviewed for a Tampa Bay Times story on the subject last week. The story showed that democrat mayors were lining up with Obama as he launches the typical political arguments to promote his agenda. The Obama agenda is one of open borders and annihilation of political opponents who want secure borders. The Mayor stated “St. Petersburg is a city of opportunity with a growing international profile,” and “We welcome people with open arms here, and we’re succeeding because of it.”
Mayor Rick Kriseman is gambling that his political extremism will pay off. He is certainly among a minority of elected officials who believe they can trust the current screening system. It is obvious that Mayor Kriseman is participating in the political correctness culture that is willing to attack and demonize those with valid concerns rather than stare reality in the face. ISIS has promised to infiltrate western culture and America using the refugee system. They have done it already in Europe and caused massive damage through it. The Tampa Bay community is full of soft targets around a military base that is bombing ISIS and commanding Special Forces on the ground against ISIS. Mayor Kriseman should put his political loyalties aside and demand stricter screening of refugees from Syria and Iraq. He should stand in solidarity with Governor Rick Scott to demand that these refugees go elsewhere until they pass stricter screening. He should recognize that refugees can be resettled here only if they have been screened as strictly as possible and that the FBI, the Director of National Intelligence and Homeland Security Chief certify their credentials. He should remember that as Mayor his first duty is to the citizens of St. Petersburg, and not political correctness. One hopes that Mayor Kriseman will adopt common sense on security as his new “style”.