- Associated Press - Sunday, November 22, 2015

DALLAS (AP) - Obama administration officials say their process for screening Syrian refugees is “extraordinarily thorough and comprehensive” in a letter sent to Gov. Greg Abbott after he said he opposed any settlement of refugees in Texas.

The letter obtained by The Dallas Morning News (https://bit.ly/1YnHoaq ) lists the various steps of the screening and interview process for any refugees seeking to move to the United States. The United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees screens all applicants, followed by reviews by the U.S. Department of State and Department of Homeland Security.

Federal immigration authorities also track refugees and conduct more background checks when they arrive in the U.S., the letter said.

“Indeed, applicants for refugee admission are screened more carefully than any other type of traveler to the United States,” the letter said. “We have tremendous faith in this system’s ability to detect, investigate, and disrupt terrorist plotting in this country, as it has done repeatedly.”

The U.S. plans to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees, which the letter called “a modest commitment.”

Abbott and more than two dozen other governors have announced they are refusing Syrian refugees due to safety concerns following the deadly attacks in Paris. Federal officials say states don’t have that authority, a statement governors have contradicted.

The state Health and Human Services Commission told volunteer organizations in the state last week not to help Syrian refugees.

“If you have any active plans to resettle Syrian refugees in Texas, please discontinue those plans immediately,” said a letter signed by Chris Turner, the agency’s executive commissioner.

Legal experts have told The Associated Press previously that federal law being cited by Abbott and others primarily concerns states’ rights to consult in the process of resettling refugees.

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Information from: The Dallas Morning News, https://www.dallasnews.com


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