New Security Procedures for Refugees Entering the United States
October 27th, 2017
On October 24, 2017, the White House announced the implementation of improved security procedures for refugees entering the United States. These new measures are part of the administration’s effort to raise national security standards for all persons traveling to the United States, and they are designed to intensify screening in order to keep nefarious and fraudulent actors from exploiting the refugee process to enter the United States. The measures come at the end of a 120-day “pause” on refugee resettlement, while the United States government conducted a thorough review of the existing program.
“The security of the American people is this administration’s highest priority, and these improved vetting measures are essential for American security,” said Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke. “These new, standardized screening measures provide an opportunity for the United States to welcome those in need into our country, while ensuring a safer, more secure homeland.”
In accordance with section 6(a) of Executive Order 13780, the United States government, including the Departments of State (State) and Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), conducted a review of the United States Refugee Admissions Program application and adjudication process. The goal of this review was to determine what additional procedures should be used to ensure that individuals seeking admission as refugees do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States.
As a result of this review, the United States government is implementing program enhancements to raise the bar for vetting and screening procedures, including but not limited to: increased data collection to more thoroughly investigate applicants, better information sharing between agencies to identify threat actors, and new training procedures to strengthen screener ability to detect fraud and deception.
These measures are an additional layer of security for the American people and are based in part on evaluated intelligence and identified gaps in screening and vetting operations. Following the implementation of these improved measures, the administration will recommence refugee resettlement processing.
While DHS, State, and ODNI have jointly determined that the new measures are adequate to resume refugee admissions, they have also concluded that additional in-depth review is needed with respect to refugees from 11 countries previously identified as posing a higher risk to the United States. Consequently, admissions for applicants from those 11 high-risk countries will move forward on a case-by-case basis during an additional 90-day review period, consistent with our national security interests. As DHS, State and DNI complete individual country reviews, they may resume a standard admissions process for applicants from those countries.