Carly Fiorina “The vast majority of (Syrian) refugees are young, able-bodied men looking for work.”
According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, males are 49.7 percent and women are 50.3 percent of Syrian refugees. Males from 18-59 years of age compose only 22.1 percent of all refugees. The UNHCR lists 4,289,792 Syrian refugees as of Nov. 17.
Under U.S. law, a refugee is someone who: is located outside of the United States; is of special humanitarian concern to the United States; demonstrates that they were persecuted or fear persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group; Is not firmly resettled in another country; and Is admissible to the United States. A refugee does not include anyone who ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any person on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
Refugee Security Screening
All refugee applicants and their family members included in the application must complete and clear biographic and biometric security checks. Through close co-ordination with the federal law enforcement and intelligence communities, these checks are continually reviewed and enhanced to address specific populations that may pose particular threats. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Refugee, Asylum and International Operations Directorate and Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) have collaborated to provide enhanced review of certain Syrian cases. This review involves FDNS providing intelligence-driven support to refugee adjudicators, including threat identification, lines of inquiry, monitoring watch lists and disseminating intelligence information reports on those applicants determined to present a national security threat.
The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program Screening
USRAP screening includes both biometric and biographic checks, which occur at multiple stages throughout the process, including immediately before a refugee’s departure to the United States as well as upon arrival in the U.S. Department of State Consular Lookout and Support System.
The IAC consists of screening biographic data, including names, dates of birth and other data points of all refugee applicants within designated age ranges. This information is captured at the time of pre-screening and is provided to intelligence community partners. This screening procedure was initiated in 2008 and has expanded over time to include a broader range of holdings. These checks occur throughout the process.
At the time of USCIS interview, USCIS staff collects fingerprints and initiates biometric checks. The biometric checks initiated by USCIS for refugee applicants include: FBI Fingerprint Check through Next Generation Identification; DHS Automated Biometric Identification System; and Department of Defense Forensics and Biometrics Agency Automated Biometric Identification System.
The USCIS refugee interview itself is a vital part of the refugee screening process. Officers conducting interviews of Syrian applicants now undergo an expanded one-week training focusing on Syria-specific topics, including a classified intelligence briefing. During the interview, the officer develops lines of questioning to elicit information regarding any involvement in terrorist activity, criminal activity or the persecution/torture of others, and conducts a credibility assessment on each applicant. The process takes 12-18 months.
In 2013, 36 Syrian refugees were admitted to the U.S.
Chip Tuthill is a longtime resident of Mancos. Websites used for this column: http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php, http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-asylum/refugees, http://www.uscis.gov/refugeescreening