Resettlement Group: Refugees Face Rigorous Scrutiny

Greece Migrants

The president of one of the state's leading refugee resettlement group responded to criticism today that refugees entering the United States don't face enough security and background checks.

Chris George, the president of Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, said the process is as tough as could be right now and in some cases it could take someone three years to gain entry into the United States.

"Syrian refugees as well all other refugees go through a very rigorous screening and background check process that's as tough for any immigrant coming to this country and in fact it's the most rigorous screening for refugees in the world," he said.

George said the steps are onerous for every refugee and by their very nature take a lot of time.

"They have face to face interviews, they have biometric scans of their irises," George said. "They do fingerprinting sometimes two or three times. They do forensic testing on all of the documents they produce."

He added that even people who are mentioned in stories and accounts told by candidates are interviewed for accuracy.

Critics of Gov. Dannel Malloy took to the Connecticut Capitol to deliver a petition of signatures urging the governor and members of Connecticut's Congressional Delegation not to allow Syrian refugees in the state.

“I don’t believe it’s helping Connecticut and it won’t help Connecticut to bring more in" said Carl Higbie, a Greenwich native and former Navy SEAL. “We cannot properly vet these people and in order to do that there needs to be substantial steps taken.”

George said the process works and reiterated the existing system has led to minimal security risks.

"It protects us from inviting in people who might do us harm and I hope it doesn't change. I hope it remains as tough and as rigorous as it has been."

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