Afraid of Middle Eastern refugees? Fight fear with facts!

Published November 22nd, 2015 - 17:17 GMT

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The US House of Representatives last week approved legislation that would stall America's program for accepting refugees, demanding stricter security provisions on the screening of Iraqi and Syrian refugees. To date, 32 American governors (out of 50) have issued statements saying they would bar Syrian refugees from settling in their states, citing risk of violent extremism, fears fanned by the recent Paris terror events.  (Symbolic, as they lack rights to do so.)

The US vetting process for Middle Eastern refugees is perhaps the most stringent on the planet, suggesting that "security" isn't the only fuel powering the anti-refugee movement. See some of the hurdles a refugee must pass and learn how irrational it is to fear them. 

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The US screening process is tough to pass. Start by registering with UNHCR which assesses where best to place you, often based on where your family is. US entry requires you to be vetted by the National Counterterrorism Center, FBI Terrorist Screening Center, and Departments of State, Defense and Homeland Security. It could take years.
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Image 1 of 10:  1 / 10The US screening process is tough to pass. Start by registering with UNHCR which assesses where best to place you, often based on where your family is. US entry requires you to be vetted by the National Counterterrorism Center, FBI Terrorist Screening Center, and Departments of State, Defense and Homeland Security. It could take years.

Enlarge
You don’t walk to a refugee camp, flash an ID and say fly me to NYC. First, UNHCR (working with authorities and NGOs) signs you up to receive basic benefits while your case is processed. Syrian? Undergo more screening to check where you came from and why you fled. Many refugees don’t pursue resettlement, rather wait it out to one day go home.
Reduce

Image 2 of 10:  2 / 10You don’t walk to a refugee camp, flash an ID and say fly me to NYC. First, UNHCR (working with authorities and NGOs) signs you up to receive basic benefits while your case is processed. Syrian? Undergo more screening to check where you came from and why you fled. Many refugees don’t pursue resettlement, rather wait it out to one day go home.

Enlarge
Hooray!  You're designated as a refugee. Now face interviews by the US Refugee Admissions Program (run jointly by the State Department, the Department of Health and Human Services, and offices from Department of Homeland Security). Families often add more babies in the time it takes to process approvals (18-24 months), which can reset the clock.
Reduce

Image 3 of 10:  3 / 10Hooray! You're designated as a refugee. Now face interviews by the US Refugee Admissions Program (run jointly by the State Department, the Department of Health and Human Services, and offices from Department of Homeland Security). Families often add more babies in the time it takes to process approvals (18-24 months), which can reset the clock.

Enlarge
All refugees aren't created equal. Priority goes to those who suffered persecution and lack options, as defined by UNHCR and their partners. Next are people from nations of “special concern” to the US, as defined by the State Dept. (e.g., Iraq and Iran). Then come parents, spouses, and minor children of refugees already living in the US.
Reduce

Image 4 of 10:  4 / 10All refugees aren't created equal. Priority goes to those who suffered persecution and lack options, as defined by UNHCR and their partners. Next are people from nations of “special concern” to the US, as defined by the State Dept. (e.g., Iraq and Iran). Then come parents, spouses, and minor children of refugees already living in the US.

Enlarge
Just because you meet one of those categories doesn’t guarantee US admission. There is fingerprint analysis and medical evaluation. Regional Refugee Coordinators and overseas Resettlement Support Centers will determine whether you’ve already “firmly resettled” (a legal term) in an interim place, which also disallows your US move.
Reduce

Image 5 of 10:  5 / 10Just because you meet one of those categories doesn’t guarantee US admission. There is fingerprint analysis and medical evaluation. Regional Refugee Coordinators and overseas Resettlement Support Centers will determine whether you’ve already “firmly resettled” (a legal term) in an interim place, which also disallows your US move.

Enlarge
The process is full of challenges often impossible to overcome without access to personal documents that may no longer exist. You'll undergo multiple interviews, be interrogated on discrepancies. Health issues, criminal records, polygamy, and anything that flags a security risk may drop you from US resettlement. You can appeal, but it takes time.
Reduce

Image 6 of 10:  6 / 10The process is full of challenges often impossible to overcome without access to personal documents that may no longer exist. You'll undergo multiple interviews, be interrogated on discrepancies. Health issues, criminal records, polygamy, and anything that flags a security risk may drop you from US resettlement. You can appeal, but it takes time.

Enlarge
Mabruk! You’ve been conditionally accepted for resettlement.  The Refugee Processing Center now decides which state you'll move to. You'll register for that state’s welfare system, get job-training, and learn English – a fiscal burden that has 26 governors saying they won't let you in.
Reduce

Image 7 of 10:  7 / 10Mabruk! You’ve been conditionally accepted for resettlement. The Refugee Processing Center now decides which state you'll move to. You'll register for that state’s welfare system, get job-training, and learn English – a fiscal burden that has 26 governors saying they won't let you in.

Enlarge
Fearmongering is nonsensical. No screening system can be 100% foolproof, but the refugee vetting process is exponentially more stringent than the checks required to hop an international flight, cross Mexican and Canadian borders, or be employed in maritime shipping - each of which have been ways for people (posing security risks) to enter the US.
Reduce

Image 8 of 10:  8 / 10Fearmongering is nonsensical. No screening system can be 100% foolproof, but the refugee vetting process is exponentially more stringent than the checks required to hop an international flight, cross Mexican and Canadian borders, or be employed in maritime shipping - each of which have been ways for people (posing security risks) to enter the US.

Enlarge
For Americans bemoaning the cost of humanitarian aid, did you know that refugees sign promissory notes to repay the US for their travel costs? Payback on this interest-free travel loan begins six months after arriving in the country. Different nonprofit groups (not government agencies!) help refugees find homes, furniture, school supplies and jobs.
Reduce

Image 9 of 10:  9 / 10For Americans bemoaning the cost of humanitarian aid, did you know that refugees sign promissory notes to repay the US for their travel costs? Payback on this interest-free travel loan begins six months after arriving in the country. Different nonprofit groups (not government agencies!) help refugees find homes, furniture, school supplies and jobs.

Enlarge
The fact is that about half of all refugees are children, another quarter are elderly. Almost all of the adults are either moms or couples coming with children. Do these people scare you? American reaction to their humanitarian plight is what's terrifying.
Reduce

Image 10 of 10:  10 / 10The fact is that about half of all refugees are children, another quarter are elderly. Almost all of the adults are either moms or couples coming with children. Do these people scare you? American reaction to their humanitarian plight is what's terrifying.

Enlarge

1

The US screening process is tough to pass. Start by registering with UNHCR which assesses where best to place you, often based on where your family is. US entry requires you to be vetted by the National Counterterrorism Center, FBI Terrorist Screening Center, and Departments of State, Defense and Homeland Security. It could take years.

Image 1 of 10The US screening process is tough to pass. Start by registering with UNHCR which assesses where best to place you, often based on where your family is. US entry requires you to be vetted by the National Counterterrorism Center, FBI Terrorist Screening Center, and Departments of State, Defense and Homeland Security. It could take years.

2

You don’t walk to a refugee camp, flash an ID and say fly me to NYC. First, UNHCR (working with authorities and NGOs) signs you up to receive basic benefits while your case is processed. Syrian? Undergo more screening to check where you came from and why you fled. Many refugees don’t pursue resettlement, rather wait it out to one day go home.

Image 2 of 10You don’t walk to a refugee camp, flash an ID and say fly me to NYC. First, UNHCR (working with authorities and NGOs) signs you up to receive basic benefits while your case is processed. Syrian? Undergo more screening to check where you came from and why you fled. Many refugees don’t pursue resettlement, rather wait it out to one day go home.

3

Hooray!  You're designated as a refugee. Now face interviews by the US Refugee Admissions Program (run jointly by the State Department, the Department of Health and Human Services, and offices from Department of Homeland Security). Families often add more babies in the time it takes to process approvals (18-24 months), which can reset the clock.

Image 3 of 10Hooray! You're designated as a refugee. Now face interviews by the US Refugee Admissions Program (run jointly by the State Department, the Department of Health and Human Services, and offices from Department of Homeland Security). Families often add more babies in the time it takes to process approvals (18-24 months), which can reset the clock.

4

All refugees aren't created equal. Priority goes to those who suffered persecution and lack options, as defined by UNHCR and their partners. Next are people from nations of “special concern” to the US, as defined by the State Dept. (e.g., Iraq and Iran). Then come parents, spouses, and minor children of refugees already living in the US.

Image 4 of 10All refugees aren't created equal. Priority goes to those who suffered persecution and lack options, as defined by UNHCR and their partners. Next are people from nations of “special concern” to the US, as defined by the State Dept. (e.g., Iraq and Iran). Then come parents, spouses, and minor children of refugees already living in the US.

5

Just because you meet one of those categories doesn’t guarantee US admission. There is fingerprint analysis and medical evaluation. Regional Refugee Coordinators and overseas Resettlement Support Centers will determine whether you’ve already “firmly resettled” (a legal term) in an interim place, which also disallows your US move.

Image 5 of 10Just because you meet one of those categories doesn’t guarantee US admission. There is fingerprint analysis and medical evaluation. Regional Refugee Coordinators and overseas Resettlement Support Centers will determine whether you’ve already “firmly resettled” (a legal term) in an interim place, which also disallows your US move.

6

The process is full of challenges often impossible to overcome without access to personal documents that may no longer exist. You'll undergo multiple interviews, be interrogated on discrepancies. Health issues, criminal records, polygamy, and anything that flags a security risk may drop you from US resettlement. You can appeal, but it takes time.

Image 6 of 10The process is full of challenges often impossible to overcome without access to personal documents that may no longer exist. You'll undergo multiple interviews, be interrogated on discrepancies. Health issues, criminal records, polygamy, and anything that flags a security risk may drop you from US resettlement. You can appeal, but it takes time.

7

Mabruk! You’ve been conditionally accepted for resettlement.  The Refugee Processing Center now decides which state you'll move to. You'll register for that state’s welfare system, get job-training, and learn English – a fiscal burden that has 26 governors saying they won't let you in.

Image 7 of 10Mabruk! You’ve been conditionally accepted for resettlement. The Refugee Processing Center now decides which state you'll move to. You'll register for that state’s welfare system, get job-training, and learn English – a fiscal burden that has 26 governors saying they won't let you in.

8

Fearmongering is nonsensical. No screening system can be 100% foolproof, but the refugee vetting process is exponentially more stringent than the checks required to hop an international flight, cross Mexican and Canadian borders, or be employed in maritime shipping - each of which have been ways for people (posing security risks) to enter the US.

Image 8 of 10Fearmongering is nonsensical. No screening system can be 100% foolproof, but the refugee vetting process is exponentially more stringent than the checks required to hop an international flight, cross Mexican and Canadian borders, or be employed in maritime shipping - each of which have been ways for people (posing security risks) to enter the US.

9

For Americans bemoaning the cost of humanitarian aid, did you know that refugees sign promissory notes to repay the US for their travel costs? Payback on this interest-free travel loan begins six months after arriving in the country. Different nonprofit groups (not government agencies!) help refugees find homes, furniture, school supplies and jobs.

Image 9 of 10For Americans bemoaning the cost of humanitarian aid, did you know that refugees sign promissory notes to repay the US for their travel costs? Payback on this interest-free travel loan begins six months after arriving in the country. Different nonprofit groups (not government agencies!) help refugees find homes, furniture, school supplies and jobs.

10

The fact is that about half of all refugees are children, another quarter are elderly. Almost all of the adults are either moms or couples coming with children. Do these people scare you? American reaction to their humanitarian plight is what's terrifying.

Image 10 of 10The fact is that about half of all refugees are children, another quarter are elderly. Almost all of the adults are either moms or couples coming with children. Do these people scare you? American reaction to their humanitarian plight is what's terrifying.

Reduce

 

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