National Review’s Ian Tuttle wrote in September 2015, “Given the sheer magnitude of the migration, it is a virtual certainty that terrorist organizations are taking advantage of the crisis to insinuate themselves into Europe.” Months later, after the Bataclan nightclub massacre in November, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who had erected a razor-wire fence on Hungary’s Serbian border, said migrants “present a security threat because we don’t know who they are. If you allow thousands or millions of unidentified persons into your house, the risk of…terrorism will significantly increase.” Frontex, which manages European Union borders, warned of this possibility in early 2015.
But these concerns met censure from European and American politicians and media elites for being xenophobic and bigoted against refugees. The Huffington Post listed terrorists embedded with refugees among their top five myths about the migrant crisis in September 2015. Another myth-buster at the Washington Post came to a similar conclusion in response to Tuttle: “Yes, in theory, terrorists could exploit the same porous borders exposed by human smugglers. But in practice, they are unlikely to use migration routes to infiltrate Europe — and checks are in place to catch them if they try.”
The Southern Poverty Law center reacted to the Paris attack with shock and horror that anyone would connect refugees to fears of Islamic terrorism, calling the mere mention of it Islamaphobic. Of course, no one was accusing refugees themselves of being terrorists. They were simply pointing out that it would be difficult to vet every migrant coming in, and therefore bad actors could easily slip in under the guise of being a refugee.