It seems that the process is restrictive and long. From what I'm reading now it takes between 18-24months and the majority of those accepted are children and adults over 60.
As is often done, stats can be selectively quoted to support a point of view. Children (under 14) and over 5 make up about 55% of the refugees from Syria. so about 45% are men and women between 14 and 50. only about 3.2% are over 50.
Also note that in Syria, Christians make up about 10% of the population. But only about 3% of the refugees. I've read that the reason for this is that while Christians are in much more danger in Syria than Muslims, the people controlling the refugee programs in Syria will not allow many Christians to get refugee status. For one thing, Christian refugees are in danger from Muslim refugees. So they have to live in segregated camps. And these camps have little to no access to the refugee programs. "As of Monday, 1,515 Syrian refugees fleeing the civil war in their homeland had been admitted since the beginning of July, and a total of 6,726 since FY 2016 began on October 1, according to State Department Refugee Processing Center data.
Of the July arrivals, 1,501 (99.0 percent) were Sunnis, and three (0.19 percent) were Christians. The other 11 (0.72 percent) were other Muslims.
Of the 6,726 total Syrian refugee arrivals since the beginning of FY 2016, 6,625 (98.4 percent) were Sunnis and 23 (0.3 percent) were Christians – including 15 described simply as “Christian,” five Catholics, two Orthodox and one Greek Orthodox adherent.
The remaining 78 (1.1 percent) comprised 49 refugees described in the data simply as “Moslem,” 17 Shi’a Muslims, 10 Yazidis, one of “no religion” and one “other religion.”
To reach its 10,000 target by September 30, the administration will need to admit average of 1,597 each month for July, August and September. With a week of this month to go, and 1,515 admitted as of early Monday, the July target looks to be easily within reach.
Of the 1,515 refugees from Syria admitted since the beginning of July, 363 (23.9 percent) are men between the ages of 14 and 50, another 322 (21.2 percent) are women aged 14-50, and 784 (51.7 percent) are children aged under 14 – 371 boys and 413 girls.
Their ethnic breakdown is: 1,472 Arabs, 22 Kurds, 18 Turkmen and three Armenians.
Of the 6,726 admitted since in FY 2016, 1,661 (24.6 percent) are men 14-50, while 1,537 (22.8 percent) are women aged 14-50. Another 3,240 (48.1 percent) are children aged under 14, made up of 1,658 boys and 1,582 girls." 6,726 Syrian Refugees Admitted to U.S. So Far in FY16--But Only 23 Are Christians
So is the real problem the fact that their identities cannot be verified? How can that be addressed beyond the existing efforts in the current process?
My understanding is that this is exactly the reason for the current, mostly short term, ban...to see if our gov, and those countries can find a way to work together to improve the way refugees are vetted.
An example that I have comes from a relative of mine who lives in the Middle East and my experience in East Africa.
Each of the these ethic (religious) groups have subtle cultural/lingual characteristics that can be used to identify where they come from. Just about every group has it's own dialect. So an interviewer knows these subtle differences, they will be able to interview a person and know if they are lying about where they come from. This takes a person with a very specific background. A person who learned a language in college will not be able to do this type of interview.
In some places you can id a person to the block they live on based on dialect, word choice, etc.
There are also ways to vet people based on their intent. For example, there is probably a way to interview a person who is an ISIS member who is trying to sneak into the USA with fake papers that will get them to spill the beans on their real intent. We used to do this when I was in MI with other terrorist types who were trying to cover their intent. It takes very subtle interview techniques, but it works.
We have to look at better, perhaps more creative, ways to vet people. And we need to make sure that the people of minority groups have the same refugee rights and the majority groups.
Again, the idea of a ban is to see if we can come up with more equitable and better ways to work with the countries that are the terrorist breeding hotbeds right now... the ones who have little to no social structure at this point.