How Does USCIS Screen Refugees for the Purposes of National Security?

How Does USCIS Screen Refugees for the Purposes of National Security?

Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. government requires all refugees to undergo extremely stringent screening for national security purposes before allowing them to proceed through the refugee application process. The process differs a bit according to where and to what agency the immigrant presents himself or herself as a refugee. If, for example, a refugee applicant presents himself or herself to a U.N. agency, the agency will collect identifying documents from the applicant and perform an initial assessment. The agency gathers biological data for the applicant and even completes iris scans in the case of Syrian or other populations of refugees from the Middle East. Next, the agency interviews the applicant to confirm his or her refugee status and the need for resettlement. Finally, the agency rechecks all of the initial information about or provided by the applicant. Only about one percent of the strongest candidates for resettlement are approved as refugees in this manner. Similarly, if a potential refugee appears at a federally-funded Resettlement Support Center, the agency gathers identifying and biographic information in order to conduct security checks with multiple federal agencies, including the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the State Department. These screenings look for any information that the refugee is a security risk, including connections to high-risk individuals and outstanding warrants, immigration violations, or criminal violations. Cases involving Syrian refugees are subject to enhanced review procedures. USCIS officers conduct personal interviews with each refugee and collect fingerprints to screen against the biometric databases of the FBI, DHS, and the U.S. Department of Defense. Assuming that the refugee passes all of these screenings, he or she is screened for medical issues and completes cultural orientation classes. The agency then does an assessment to determine the best resettlement location for each refugee, taking into consideration any family members already living in the U.S. and any health concerns. Any new information that comes to light along the way causes a number of rescreenings for each refugee applicant. Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C. is composed of skilled California immigration attorneys who focus exclusively on defending individuals in deportation cases. We realize just how stressful and emotional deportation proceedings can be for you and your entire family. The uncertainty of a potential deportation can drag on for months and even years as you continue to build a life in America without any assurances that you will be able to stay in the country. As seasoned deportation defense lawyers, we know what it takes to successfully defend against deportation in a wide variety of situations and how to develop the best strategy in your defense case. Call us today and learn how we can advocate on your behalf and work toward avoiding deportation altogether.
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