DETROIT (WJBK) - Across the country, governors like Michigan's Rick Snyder are saying 'no' to taking Syrian refugees because of security concerns. However, before they even arrive in Michigan and all the other states, they've already gone through a rigorous screening process.
Sean De Four resettles refugees like the thousands we've seen fleeing Syria because of ISIS.
So far this year, Lutheran Social Services of Michigan has welcomed more than 80 Syrian refugees to our state. The vetting process to bring them to this country starts with the United Nations, and is so intense and so thorough it takes at least 18 to 24 months.
"They go through Homeland Security review, State Department review, FBI review, you name it. Just about every federal agency that can do some sort of background check will do a check," De Four says. "They are the most rigorously screened out of any population entering the U.S. of any population."
Every year, 4,000 refugees from around the world are welcomed into the state of Michigan. Recently, Gov. Rick Snyder agreed to take even more from the Middle East. However, he's now put that on hold pending review of procedures after the terror attacks in Paris.
About 4,000 refugees will still come, but the extras he once welcomed, will have to wait.
"To cut off access to a safe haven in the United States because of unfounded fears is unfair," De Four says.
Governor Snyder is not alone in his concerns; U.S. Representative Candace Miller from Michigan is Vice Chair of The House Homeland Security Committee and released this statement:
"The reality is, there is no database on Syria making it impossible to adequately screen these refugees. It concerns me that this Administration is underestimating the capabilities of ISIS, especially considering the President's comments just last week that ISIS was 'contained and under control.'
De Four says he understands Gov. Snyder's reasons for being cautious, but he hopes the program can resume as soon as possible.
"I would hope that people would continue to have open minds and open hearts about refugees resettling in Michigan," he said.
Coincidentally, Gov. Snyder wrote an op-ed for Time that was published at 4:20 Tuesday afternoon. In the article, Snyder writes that his primary responsibility is to the people of Michigan and he's asking to pause efforts to bring in more refugees and requested the "U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to take a full review of the security clearances and procedures for all refugees"
He also wrote that he's proud to be "one of the most immigration-friendly governors in the U.S."