In this op-ed for the Washington Post, a Syrian refugee woman named Linda J. writes about how she and her family fled Syria and eventually emigrated to America. She talks about the intense vetting she went through, saying “I believe the screening we underwent was so intense, so thorough and so long that it would be impossible for militants to come here.” With the help of the International Rescue Committee, Linda and her family resettled to Baltimore and helped her with the translation for this important article.
Here are some snippets from the piece:
“President Trump says that it is not safe to accept certain kinds of refugees without “extreme vetting” that he has yet to detail. So he has now banned people from seven countries, including Syria, which I fled with my family in 2014. But we were thoroughly vetted before we came here, just like other refugees — exhaustively, endlessly vetted. We are not terrorists. And if we’d been stopped from coming here, we would be suffering horribly right now….”
“We could not return home to Syria. We could not continue living on the brink of starvation in Lebanon. A safe option was available: We began the application process to come to the United States. The process started with a series of meetings with U.S. government representatives — at least five in-¬person interviews with each of us and countless phone conversations. The questions were very detailed: about my family, my friends, how I spent my time. The interviewers often knew the answers to the questions before they asked them. They asked about my life going back to the day I was born; they even knew the location of the hospital. My story is my story, so I knew that the details would match their information. But I was stunned by the level of scrutiny and the length of the process. Finally, more than a year after we began applying and more than two years after we fled Damascus, we were cleared in December 2014 to resettle in Baltimore. ..”
“We, too, have been appalled by the Islamic State’s terrorist attacks around the world, and we condemn them wholeheartedly. My family and I lived through horrific acts like these. I believe the screening we underwent was so intense, so thorough and so long that it would be impossible for militants to come here…”