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IRC: innocent, security-vetted refugees victims of Supreme Court decision

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David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), said today’s implementation of a partial stay by the Supreme Court on rulings against Trump Administration’s Travel Ban immediately impacts already vetted refugees scheduled to come to the United States.  

“Too much time already has been spent litigating this misguided order,” said Miliband. “The approach of the Administration is bad policy. That is not changed by the legal arguments. The Court’s decision threatens damage to vulnerable people waiting to come to the US: people with urgent medical conditions blocked, innocent people left adrift, all of whom have been extensively vetted. We urge the Administration to begin its long-delayed review of the vetting process and restart a program which changes lives for the better,” said Miliband.

According to the IRC, refugees are vetted more intensively than any other group seeking to enter the United States:

Once those refugees most in need are registered by the U.N. refugee agency, the U.S. then hand-selects every person who is admitted. The U.S. resettlement program gives priority to refugees, usually vulnerable families, who have been targeted by violence. The U.S. does not recognize people who have committed violations of humanitarian and human rights law, including the crime of terrorism, as refugees. They are specifically excluded from the protection accorded to refugees.

Security screenings are intense and led by U.S. government authorities, including the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and multiple security agencies. The process typically takes 18-24 months and is followed by further security checks after refugees arrive in the States.

Refugees undergo biographic and biometric checks, medical screenings, forensic document testing, and in-person interviews. Because of the complexity of the conflict in their country, Syrian refugees must go through extra review steps with intelligence agencies and Department of Homeland Security officers who have particular expertise and training in conditions in Syria and the Middle East. The IRC encourages the Administration to quickly engage with the real expertise in agencies to increase their knowledge of the current resettlement vetting process, and to better understand who refugees are.

Learn more about IRC's work resettling refugees in the United States.

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About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 28 offices across the U.S. helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.