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On October 1st a hearing was held before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest to determine the potential safety threats posed by the admittance of Syrian Refugees. The United States has always played a crucial role in the protection of the world, and we have always been a nation that prides ourselves on our treatment of the world’s refugees. There has been a lot of controversy amongst the American people and legislature however because the government was dragging its feet on deciding whether or not to accept Syrian refugees. Even when we did begin to accept refugees the American people felt that we weren’t accepting enough.
The government, of course, claims that it had the best interest of the American people in its mind at all time. One of the biggest delays, we learned, were the safety protocols to make sure that terrorists were not able to pose as refugees and come over to the United States. The following are the procedures in place:

  1. In order to be admitted as a refugee, a person must pass an extensive screening process that can take up to two years.
  2. Government officials look to identify potential fraud, criminal or national security issues and conduct an in-depth in-person interview for the primary applicant and all family members age 14 and over. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Refugee applicants are subject to the highest level of security checks,
  3. A refugee applicant is not permitted to travel until all the required security checks have been cleared.

Recent White House staff announcements indicate that the President now wants to admit 75,000 refugees next year instead of 10,000. It remains to be seen whether this process can be streamlined and how many refugees will be admitted. In a different article, I discuss how many refugees the U.S. accepts each year. Yes, Syrian refugees pose a threat to our national security. However, just because a threat exists doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do the right thing. Our screening process must be extensive. Our intelligence sources must be robust. We can never completely eliminate the risk, but we can significantly minimize it. We should do the right thing.

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