tv Washington Journal Karen Jacobsen Discusses Refugee Screening in the U.S. CSPAN February 12, 2017 6:34pm-7:04pm EST
now, a look at the u.s. process for screening refugees from today's washington journal. this is 30 minutes. joining us from the campus of tufts university is karen jacobsen, a native of south africa and a professor of global migration at the fletcher school. good morning. thank you for being with us. guest: good morning. thank you for having me. host: one of the questions you posed is how difficult it is to get into the u.s. for these migrants coming to the united states. walk us through the process and what you have learned. guest: ok. the process has been in place for a long time and is worked pretty well. i would take streaming well for the u.s. this process begins mostly when refugees are in camps or other places and asylum.
agency -- finde refugees who are in great danger, vulnerable and needing medical care, different from the other refugees living in these camps because they are much more vulnerable. they identifies these people and puts them up for resettlement. for a veryt occurs small percentage of the world popular refugees. today, there are about 16 million refugees. only about 100,000 refugees get resettled globally every year. and these are only people who are in great danger in the camps. they identifies these people and puts them up for resettlement, and if the u.s. decides and agrees to take these people, the process begins. 10 step process
that takes place outside of the u.s. it is a screening process that unhr screens the refugees. works -- they work with the u.s. government, particularly the department of homeland security, and even the cia. steps that least 10 begins in which the refugees, individually, are double fingerprints,heir background checks, experience in and out of their homeland, and the process goes on for at least nine months in the case of some refugees, but for particular
groups of refugees like syrians and iraqis, that process goes on for two years. there are repeated text, background checks in the country from which they came. foral databases are checked fingerprints. there are health checks. .his process is repeated the process could be reinitiated . when it is finally complete, there are cultural trainings that go on. and finally, when everyone is happy with the process, the refugees are flown to the u.s. they are met by resettlement agency and resettled according to the u.s. resettlement guidelines. this process has been in place for a long time. and it has worked pretty well. available onsay is
the washington examiner website outlining the point you highlighted a moment ago. our guest is professor karen jacobsen. it you called it a comprehensive process that could take up to two years, but from your standpoint, are there flaws in the process? what, if anything, needs to be fixed? guest: no process is perfect. as it has been pointed out by people, some of these background checks may not be fully executable. some of the countries that refugees come from have governments that do not maintain records that well. in these cases, everything is done to ensure that we can get good information, but that is an area that can be improved. we do not know what happens to people when they come to the u.s., and how they become integrated, what happens to them then.
that is an area that can be improved, too, because we want to ensure when refugees come to the u.s. where they go through hip process -- our hope is that they become citizens and integrated. but there are areas in the process where they can be integrated better so there is less chance of radicalization and so forth. radicalization is not something that is by any means specific to refugees. it is much more process that happens with our own citizens. we so many ensure that refugees do well when they come to the u.s. and so far, that has happened. refugees have done pretty well compared to other immigrants. that is an area that could be improved. host: what is refugees settle, according to a study by pew research. here are the top 10 states led
california, new york, texas ohio, arizona, north carolina, washington state, pennsylvania, and illinois. let's go to george joining us from west virginia on the democrat's line with professor tickets and from tufts university. good morning, george. caller: good morning and thank you for c-span. i have a question. there is a difference between a refugee and an immigrant. a lot of people don't understand that, and even this professor has not mentioned it. the refugee is a person who is leaving their country because of or something going on from their country they want to get away from. is somebodyrant that goes through the legal process that wants to come to the country to do better for themselves and for their family. host: thank you, george, we will get a response. guest: george, you are right.
that is a very good point. the u.s. every year admits close to one million immigrants, people who come for economic reasons, but mainly to join their families -- family reunification's. and they come as part of a green card lottery. and those are the people who are coming here permanent the -- for coming here permanently. refugees are subset of that group. every year, we have a quota of refugees who come in. that quote is set by the president. last year, fiscal year 2016, the quota was 85,000 refugees, which was filled pretty much. the fiscal year quota for this year was sent by president obama at 100,000. that quota is likely to come down. but you are certainly right. refugees are a very different group of immigrants compared to other immigrants.
and the reasons for leaving their country and the reasons for coming here are very different from other immigrants. thathing we should note is the u.s. is the leader of helping refugees. the refugee spends more money on the human and countries hosting refugees than any other country. and the u.s. resettled the most number of refugees than any other country in the world by thousands of people. so the u.s. has always been a leader in this field. thatt is worth noting that is what people want to come here because we have a good program that has worked really well. host: in addition to her work at tech university, she has conducted research in conflict zones. back in 2006, the economic life of refugees. our guest is karen jacobsen. let me put it another graph on the screen to look at america's
acceptance or lack thereof of refugees. i'm gearing uprising, more than 65% of americans oppose the more than 65% of americans opposed the hungarian uprising. during the flight of cuba, 71% of americans disapproved of cuban refugees come to the u.s. i put that on the screen to get your perspective. is there anything new here? well,, we should also tookthat in 1980, the u.s. over 200,000 refugees from china, mostly from cambodia. in the past, we have taken a refugees than in the past few years. our attitudes toward immigration have fluctuated over the years,
and the u.s. attitudes will there divided by political persuasions and so forth. but on the whole, americans are positive with immigrants. and refugees tend to be better educated. when we look at the data, they seemed -- they seem to be better educated and often do well economically after they have integration their into the system. refugees, when we compare them to immigrants, are a pretty strong group. they are very highly motivated and are often more educated and overtime, they do well. -- itk people's attitudes would be good if people could differentiate between immigrant and refugees because they are a different group, which is
something we're bearing in mind. host: our next caller is from chesapeake, virginia. good morning. caller: good morning, professor jacobson. i think people are losing sight of the real thing going on here. the immigration and the -- george source is behind all of this with areas groups. occupy wall street and someone. his goal is to a lemonade the united states -- his goal is to eliminate the united states's borders. at this point, the united states will become controlled by the united nations. lasterstand that the refugees that were let into the united states were vetted by the united nations. is that true? nations'e united
refugee agency begins the process of selecting and identifying the most vulnerable refugees in the camp. but that process does not continue with the u.n. byis completely conducted the u.s. government, by the department of homeland security, by the cia, and by the department of state. these agencies are the ones responsible for ensuring that refugees who come to the u.s. are the ones that would work the best, that would do the best, and are most suitable according to our own criteria for who should be selected and enable to come. once they are in the u.s., they are also monitored for a while for a about a year while they are still getting assistance from the u.s. to help them integrate. the u.n. plays a relatively small part of the beginning, but they always were very closely
with the different government agencies to ensure we are only getting people who are going to do well in fit into the u.s. indiana,m fort wayne, mike, good morning, democrat's line. caller: good morning, how are you? host: fine, good morning, mike. caller: i will make this brief. i think karen is civil. be would probably never booked on the fox channel because she is pretty simple and she understands what she is talking about. many get to the point. -- let me get to the point. the indians were here first. so they are natives. they are not native americans, they are natives. i understand the caller from virginia who just called in. when you get to the other side -- itemason-dixon line
61 years old. -- i am 61 years old. i believe it is about human beings. thank you karen for your views. host: thank you mike. professor, jacobson, did you want to respond? guest: i appreciate your comments. i would like to say that i am an immigrant. i come from south africa. the reason i came to the u.s. was for the reason that many people want to come that we see the u.s. as a leader, a world leader. power, but also in its values and beliefs. for me, and for many other immigrants, it was a moment of great -- i had to become a citizen because i felt this was a truly -- because i felt this was a country that truly welcomed the value of immigrants.
incirlik, that is the case with refugees. while you are right, native , weicans were here first have become a country of immigrants, and that is what has given us our strength over the years. i hope he continues to see that refugees bring strength -- i hope we continue to see the refugees bring strength to the u.s. thank you for that comment. host: "the guardian" but this fact on the table and i want to put it on the screen saying cash 2012, thereing as a were -- residents born in countries affected by the ban, just 2% of all immigrants. we're talking about the seven countries involved in the legal battle between the president and the court. yes.: that may be true. i would like to make a comment
quickly about a recent report that the department of justice put out, which tracks terrorists that have been arrested in the u.s. between 2001 and 2014. terroristsabout 540 accused and tried for various crimes. of those, we only have immigration information on only 308. about 70 were from the seven countries. the others were from other they were neither citizens or legal permanent residents. 40% of them were here illegally. , there were people from these countries, but also for many other countries. the point is just that these countries that have been identified may be a source of
-- thes so far difficulty with trying to understand whether they are coming from these countries is the problem and something we should think about. most of the terrorist that a been arrested in the u.s. are and were citizens. people, only two were refugees. i think it is worth bearing in mind to really try to understand what role immigrants and whenees separately play coming to our country. become up at the data and try to understand. the department of justice posterior report is available online and it is something we could all have a look at. host: we have 10 more minutes with professor karen jacobsen joining us in touch university and is a professor of global migration at the fletcher school. we are talking about the issue of refugees, the process and
politics involved. ,lan from east chicago democrat's line. caller: good morning and thank you for c-span. i did not want to put the young lady on the spot. i do have a question that i don't know the answer to. the united states has been pretty magnanimous a court -- when it comes refugees. correct me if i'm wrong, but after world war ii, the -- did the united states prevent thousands of european jews from entering the united states? wasn't it president truman who did not let jews come in? and we ended up dropping them in palestine and now they occupied it, and now they are wholly subsidized in the occupation -- host: we'll get a response, allen, thank you for the call. , we turned away
european jews displaced in europe and who had been murdered in europe. incidents and countries'histories do happen. i think the u.s. has recognized partand atoned for it in by its generous refugee policy over the years. but you are writing we should examine our history and look more carefully at incidents that we were gratified to understand them to recognize that there is not much we can do historically. but now, there are ways we can think carefully about these problems and what happens when the push people away. pushing people away now is illegal in terms of international law. we cannot reject people at our borders. and we survey should not do
that. in fact, the u.s. does not do that. they do not push people away from the borders. they do allow people to apply for asylum, which is a part of u.s. law and part of international law. point.ciate your it is worth understanding how american immigration and refugee policy has changed over the years. on the whole, it has moved in a positive direction. host: professor jacobson, i am not sure if you saw this story posted late friday on the yahoo! website. it is a headline from politico. an interview that was conducted with president assad in syria -- he said many of those refugees coming from syria to the u.s. anti-europe are terrorists. and europe the u.s. are terrorists. what you say to that? guest: i don't find the syrian president a credible source
given his own history of his actions toward his own people. i would say that assad has a very strong political agenda in this matter, including that he himself has displaced very large numbers of his own citizens both within his country and across borders and other countries. wouldk the last person we want to give any credibility to , especially on this matter with displacing his own people. not to say that he has displaced everyone, but the war in his country has displaced people. dissident most of the terrorists, or the migrants are terrorists is ludicrous in my view. host: let's go to match in new york on the republican line. good morning. we need to cut through the bipartisan talk on this issue.
this is not a muslim ban or a permanent ban, this is a travel ban against certain country selected by president obama and the congress. we could remove some and we could add to some. it is based on the previous administration's information and a new administration has come in and it is perfectly reasonable for a new president to redesign, or reevaluate policies from previous administrations. you know? obviously, they are from different parties and have different views, including on refugee policies. what is wrong with looking at this? nobody looked at the san bernardino's terrorists facebook purse -- facebook posts. we do not think that they are all terrorists, but we are concerned about some of the things we see going on in your.
host: matt, thank you for the call. guest: i agree with you. we sorely want to protect our borders. we want to make sure that the people coming in are not racist sts for terrorists. and the president was within his right to decide how we should manage our borders. i agree with that. withi am less an agreement is that the process through which he engages in that should be a managed one rather than a reactive one. there are people who have already gone through two years course,ning, and of these people should be allowed , whether we change the
screening process are make our borders more secure in different ways, that is certainly the prerogative of the president. and i would certainly agree we should not and cannot have open borders. the problem is, we have a good process, certainly for refugees. we have a good process in place. the process has worked really well. we do not have a lot of refugee terrorists. so, i agree with you. the president is within his writing the sermon should control our borders. -- the president is right and we certainly should control our borders. i think it would be good if we stuck with the process. and we can change it, but let's at least keep the people who are already on their way here, let
them come. host: let's go to alberta joining us from georgia. good morning. caller: good morning. i am really enjoying the program this morning for a change. it is very good. i like the way ms. jacobson is explaining things. my thing is that we have come to the point where we are afraid of everything in this country. we are so afraid of this. we are so afraid of that. see, i'm a christian. believe that they should let them come. fair among ourre people, we will always be in this turmoil. we cannot live like this. you wake up and you don't even know what's going on. i love the way that she is explaining this, this morning.
. i am not afraid of anything. i think that is the way we should live, you know? host: thank you for the call. we will give or get a chance to respond. guest: that was very kind. i would like to say, i have been working in this field for a long time. when you say that people are afraid, i think about how afraid people are in their own countries. especially countries like syria, or the congo, or south sudan. many other countries, iraq.
these people are really afraid. i know that if they are able to flee across their borders and think about the possibility of coming to the united states, it can only be a kind of hope for these people. refugees who have lived in fear for so long, for so long, and are now able to come to the left, this is a truly great thing that our country is able to do. i truly hope we can find a way right nowis tangle and continue with the refugee policy. our refugee policy is a really good policy. ours is the best. beshould continue to leaders. concludet me can -- with a personal question.
when did you come to the u.s. and why? guest: i came in 1981. my whole life, living in racially divided south africa, for me, i knew there were racial problems in the u.s., but i was fascinated and wanted to the how the u.s. was dealing with those problems. to be honest, i came here to wyoming. ranch in i enter becoming an academic and working in the field. i never look back. i'm so appreciative of being an american citizen. i would never change that. continue to work in the rest of the world as much as possible. guest teaches on the
campus of tufts university. she is a professor on global migration. thank you for your perspective. we appreciate you being with us. please come back again. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] journal"'s "washington life every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up on monday morning, a look ahead at the white house and capitol hill. the presidential nomination process. also, and economics writer will discuss the changing role of fannie mae and freddie mac. be sure to watch live at 7:00 eastern on monday morning. join the discussion. >>