A Quick Review of the U.S. Refugee Policy

Today’s political landscape is, to say the least, a mess. Misinformation is rampant, social media is just one giant argument, and we have our government painting our media as liars and our media painting the government as liars. It’s difficult to sort through the truths and exaggerations.

In order to break up some of the bias information circulating, I thought to go out and look up some of the information for myself, like many of us should be doing.

A Refugee is anyone who is forced to leave their country due to war, persecution, and natural disaster. It has been determined that these people cannot return home, usually because they physically have no home to return to.

The United States Refugee process isĀ  one of the most extreme and in depth processes in the world. All refugees must apply for refuge status through the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, then, depending on the applicant, some of these will be transferred to the US State Department/ RSC Department.The application then goes through more than 16 different screening organizations as well as Homeland Security. These organizations screen for different things such as: past crimes, political affiliations, ties to gangs/rebel groups, etc. Higher risk applicants are subjected to even further checks, including a Security Advisory Opinion completed by the FBI.

Once the application has been through all of these different checks a medical test is administered and departments assess the situation to figure out which country would best serve the Refugee’s needs.

After this, the applicant must go through multiple in-person interviews in which they are asked extensive questions on travel intent, past actions, political ideologies and affiliations. The questions are reworded and asked over and over for hours and sometimes days, to attempt to get the applicant to slip up.

When approved, the applicant must attend a week-long orientation to introduce them to American culture and to understand further their ideologies on our society. Syrian Refugees are subjected to more in-depth training than other nationalities.

This process can take 18-24 months depending on the applicant. And roughly 72% of those are approved are women and children.

No other country in the world has such extensive screening.

No other country in the world was founded on freedom such as the United States is. No other country prides itself on being fearless in the face of oppression and being a safe haven for those who have been persecuted.

Since our laws were updated after the 2011 Terror Attack, only 2 people have been discovered to have made it through that shouldn’t have. In 2009 two men with terrorist ties were found to be living in Kentucky. At that time Obama implemented a temporary pause on Visa approvals for Iraq while the laws were updated to fix what allowed the two in. The policy was in response to discovering their existence, and also allowed intelligence agencies to further solidify databases by allowing the FBI to broaden their fingerprint bases (they lifted fingerprints from roadside bombs.)

Regardless of your political affiliation, it is important to know the facts. It is important to recognize people for people and to understand that America is already incredibly picky about who is allowed into our country. For good reason, too.

There is much more that can be said, and I think we all know where I stand on these issues. But at least take the time to be educated about the situation.