I was reading up on the process for refugees seeking admission into the United States. Holy crap – it’s almost easier to get a membership at Augusta National. Check this out
1. Refugees are screened by several different agencies:
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ months-long process, which about 1 percent of refugees reportedly make it through to the United States round – this is when the U.S. steps in.
- The Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) of the U.S. Department of State.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
- The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Five international or nongovernmental organizations operating Resettlement Support Centers around the world under the supervision and funding of the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) of the U.S. Department of State.
- Nine domestic nongovernmental organizations (six of them faith-based) with a total of about 350 affiliated offices across the United States.
- Thousands of private citizens who volunteer their time and skills to help refugees resettle in the United States.
All of the vetting, from interviews, health screening (have a communicable disease, than you’re out-of-luck), numerous background checks to fingerprinting, takes a while. How long?
2. It’s a lengthy process.
The total processing time varies depending on an applicant’s location and other circumstances, but the average time from the initial UNHCR referral to arrival as a refugee in the United States is about 18-24 months.
The U.S. has admitted some 1,800 Syrian refugees in the past two years, and President Obama wants to allow 10,000 more. The administration says half of those who have been admitted are children and about a quarter of them are adults over 60. Officials say 2 percent of the 1,800 (36 people) are single males between 18-40.
This vetting schedule seems like an amazingly thorough process — that I’m grateful I never have to undertake.