FB pixel

Syrian refugee screening process in the U.S. includes biometrics, biographical data


Following the Paris attacks, members of the Republican party are recommending a halt to the federal program that relocates Syrian refugees in the U.S. out of concerns that a terrorist could enter the country under the guise of a refugee, according to a report by Time.com.

However, President Obama and other Democrats have reassured the GOP that all refugees admitted into the U.S. go through extensive background checks while a small number of individuals coming from Syria undergo additional layers of security screening.

“Of all the categories of persons entering the U.S., these refugees are the single most heavily screened and vetted,” said Jana Mason, a senior adviser to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The security screening process starts with a referral from UN refugee agency UNHCR, which has already registered 15 million refugees around the world.

The comprehensive registration process includes refugee interviews, home country reference checks and biometrics screening such as iris scans — an effort that effectively weeds out any military combatants.

Many law enforcement, intelligence and security agencies including the State Department, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security, conduct “the most rigorous screening of any traveler to the U.S.,” said a senior administration official.

A DHS officer performs in-person interviews with all applicants. Additionally, officials collect biometrics data such as fingerprints and match them against criminal databases.

Biographical data including past visa applications are also heavily analyzed to ensure the legitimacy of the applicant’s story.

The entire screening process takes 18 to 24 months on average, with just over 50% of asylum seekers passing the screening.

Over the last year, approximately 1,800 refugees have resettled in dozen states across the U.S.

The security checks hold a pretty strong track record. Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, none of the 750,000 refugees admitted into the country have been arrested on domestic terrorism charges, though two Iraqis in Kentucky were charged with aiding al-Qaeda in terrorist attacks.

President Obama aims to take in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees between now and next October.

Previously reported, Acting Deputy Chief Mr. Lee Bowes of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) gives his perspective on the biometrics division, which over just this year collected biometrics on 3.8 million individuals across 138 domestic sites and many international locations.

Article Topics

 |   |   |   |   |   | 

Latest Biometrics News


Smile ID surges past 150M identity verifications completed

Selfie biometrics provider Smile ID (formally Smile Identity) has achieved the completion of 150 million identity verifications – five months…


Incode age assurance gets stamp of approval from ACCS

Incode Technologies has announced that their Incode Identity Platform product has received certification under the Age Check Certification Scheme (ACCS)….


Arana launches police biometrics app for HID scanner

Arana Security has launched a new mobile app for mobile biometric fingerprint readers from HID used by law enforcement. The…


Fraud hammers online services, drives AI ambivalence

Fraud rates are spiking just like temperatures in many parts of the world. Global identity verification companies Sumsub, AuthenticID and…


Contractor distances self from biometric device failures in South Africa elections

A Johannesburg-based company, Ren-Form, which supplied biometric hardware to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) says it is not…


Online age verification requirements in US legislation raise thorny problems

More than a dozen bills have been introduced in the current U.S. Congress that, if enacted, would increase protections for…


11 Replies to “Syrian refugee screening process in the U.S. includes biometrics, biographical data”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Most Read This Week

Featured Company

Biometrics Insight, Opinion

Digital ID In-Depth

Biometrics White Papers

Biometrics Events