WASHINGTON — Vowing "swift, efficient action" on Syrian refugee admissions, the Obama Administration last month assigned the Department of Veterans Affairs responsibility for vetting the refugees, according to sources.
“Really, it’s a perfect fit,” said one White House official. “The VA is already used to dealing with dangerous, unstable people looking for jobs.”
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald welcomed the responsibility. “Like our mission statement proclaims, we are ‘to care for him who shall have borne this battle, and for his widow, and his orphan,'" McDonald said. "Well, except in this case it’ll probably just be widows and orphans. Well, maybe just girl orphans, at that. Anyways, we are fully committed to serving and honoring these deserving few.”
"Once we finish processing their applications."
To date the VA has successfully vetted one Syrian, Dr. Basma Hosseini. Hosseini, a pharmacist who fled from Raqqa last month, has had mixed results with the Department.
“I asked for a house, but they give me bottle of horse tranquilizers. No prescription, they just said, ‘Take pills, go home,’ in a weird accent,” she reported. “I am a pharmacist. Even in Raqqa we have procedures, we have prescriptions. We use therapy, not pills. And I still need house.”
None of the other 10,000 refugees has been vetted, and none properly housed. But according to records received through a Freedom of Information Act request, VA employees in the new Refugee Office have received $275,000 in bonuses thus far. A senior official (GS-13) in the department volunteered to look into the matter, but told friends that he would “probably need to become a GS-15 to properly conduct the investigation.”
Meanwhile politicians have joined in a rare bid of bi-partisanship to lift restrictions on the number of Syrians allowed to enter the vetting program. A joint letter by the Senate, House, and all 50 governors stated that, “We rescind all prior objections to the refugees. We know he we have nothing to worry about with the VA on the case. We have the utmost faith that they will resolve this matter with their usual sense of urgency and efficiency.”
Preliminary estimates put the vetting time at around 10 years. "That's way faster than usual," McDonald said.