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November 16, 2015

Thompson Statement on Refugee Vetting Process

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the below statement on the refugee crisis in Syria:

The United States has a multi-layered system that vets people seeking to enter the country as refugees. This vetting process takes on average between 18 and 24 months. An individual seeking refugee status in the U.S. cannot step foot in the country until the Department of Homeland Security has made a determination of admissibility, having applied our Federal prioritization criteria and subjected the applicant to extensive biometric and biographic checks, multiple in-person interviews, and medical screenings.

While concern about the risks associated with unknown persons in refugee populations is understandable, particularly in the wake of last week's heinous attacks in Paris, we must not lose sight of the fact that three quarters of the refugee population are women and children and the U.S. government will be highly selective about which applicants it approves. Providing safe harbor to individuals who no longer have a home because war and violence is the humane – and American - thing to do.

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978