Refugee screening process: How it works and who's here - | WBTV Charlotte

Refugee screening process: How it works and who's here

U.S. President Barack Obama gestures to journalists following a news conference at the end of the G-20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015. (Anadolu Agency via AP, Pool) U.S. President Barack Obama gestures to journalists following a news conference at the end of the G-20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015. (Anadolu Agency via AP, Pool)
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

There's been a lot of discussion the past two days since North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley joined a chorus of governors across the country who want President Obama to cease allowing Syrian refugees into the United States.

Mostly GOP lawmakers are asking for a "pause" on their entry until the vetting process can be guaranteed to not allow anyone from ISIS to infiltrate the refugee program.

This comes a few days after terrorist attacks across Paris claimed more than 100 lives and injured hundreds more people. Authorities report one of the suspects could have come through in a wave of Syrian refugees.

In the United States, refugees come to the attention of the State Department through the United Nations. The State Department receives their biographical information then the Department of Homeland Security, National Counterterrorism Center, and Department of Defense review it.

Next, the refugee is interviewed in-person by an official with Homeland Security. Finally, the refugee goes through a medical screening and cultural orientation process.

The process can take two years to complete, making it unlikely the refugees currently fleeing Syria will make it to American soil in the near future.

WBTV analyzed numbers from the national Office of Refugee Resettlement and found that in in North Carolina, Syrian refugees make up a small percentage of overall refugees.

In 2014, NC accepted 2443 refugees from various countries including: 38 refugees from Afghanistan, 343 refugees from Iraq, 26 refugees from Iran and 11 refugees from Syria.

All of those countries have had terrorist groups known to operate within their borders according to the State Department.

"I think everyone shares the fear, are we going to be safe? Absolutely our security at home is number one," said Immigration attorney Jordan Forsythe, who also served on the board of the Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency. "It's just misplacing where we can actually make a difference.," she said.

Forsythe says refugees are some of the most scrutinized and tracked individuals who enter America. She says their hand-picked selection makes it more unlikely that anyone would pose a terrorist threat.

Governor McCrory said the state has requested information on refugees from the federal government several times. He says they have not received even basic information, like names, in some cases.

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