Here are a few powerful statistics. Only 2 percent of Syrian refugees admitted to America are males of military age. 50 percent are children, and 25 percent are above the age of 65, according to the the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.
It takes at least four years for refugees to be approved to enter the U.S. The United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR) puts refugees through its own two-year screening process before referring them to the U.S. The American screening process takes about another two years as well.
Lavinia Limón, the chief executive officer of USCRI points out that that’s a long time for undercover terrorists to wait. ”It seems to me that terror networks are better funded than to keep someone in a refugee camp for four years to hope that they’ll be the half of one percent that will get to come in,” she said. “That’s not very efficient!” She pointed out that some of the attackers were French citizens, so they could have come to New York without needing a visa.
Once they get that UNHCR referral, refugees are vetted by a high number of American agencies. Lee Williams of USCRI names a few. “We know they go through the CIA, the FBI, the national counter-terrorism database, and the Department of Defense,” he said. Then they’re vetted by “agencies with acronyms that none of us know about,” he added, describing the process as a “black box.”