I respectfully respond to Steve Rosenoff’s Feb. 11 letter, about the refugee vetting process, which he describes as having less background checks than for buying a gun in Washington state. Not true.
Before President Trump suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, and barred Syrian refugees indefinitely, under Presidents Bush and Obama, screening for refugees involved many layers of security checks before entry into the country, and Syrians had additional layers. The process (20 steps), takes up to two years. The 9th Circuit Court Judges decision left that rigorous process in place.
Several news outlets published the refugee screening process, which I draw from:
They register with the United Nations; are interviewed; if refugee status is granted, the most vulnerable are referred for resettlement in the United States or another country.
The U.S. vetting process, mostly carried out overseas, involves eight federal agencies, six different databases, five separate background checks, four fingerprint and biometric checks, three in-person interviews and two inter-agency checks.
Syrians undergo added steps: review by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services refugee specialist. Cases with “national security indicators” are given to Homeland Security.
All have an extensive, in-person interview with a Homeland Security officer (approval required); are screened for contagious diseases; given cultural orientation; matched with U.S. resettlement agency.
Refugees face another screening before embarking to the U.S., and another security check at a U.S. airport.
These refugees, like our ancestors, come to America wanting peace and freedom to live, work and thrive.