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Immigration Law

Expert: Vetting of Refugees, Immigrants a 'Balancing Act'

Rebecca Shabad, CBS News, Feb. 27, 2017 - "As the Trump administration readies a new “extreme vetting” executive order that is expected to ban people from certain countries in order to give agencies time to review U.S. vetting procedures, many experts and former officials argue that the screening process is already rigorous. ... “We have a terrorist watch database. We have known immigration violators database. We have a criminal background check database that they have to go through. They don’t just take the visa applicant’s word,” said Stephen W. Yale-Loehr, an immigration law professor at Cornell University’s law school. “They do go through all of these computer databases to verify for themselves that it’s appropriate to issue the visa to a particular individual.” If and when the person is approved for a visa, photos and fingerprints are taken. Before departing for the U.S., all air passengers coming into the U.S. are subject to information analysis by officials on the ground overseas and at the National Targeting Center in Virginia. Once the traveler arrives at a U.S. airport, an officer with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will have access to all of the information collected through the targeting center, will ask the person for his or her fingerprints again to match with the original set, and will ask questions again about the trip to the U.S. ... The challenge for the Trump administration will be whether it can make meaningful changes to an already-stringent vetting process without making it implausible to come to the U.S. “There’s a balancing act that the United States has to have in terms of making sure that we do have adequate screening,” said Yale-Loehr, “But at not such high a cost that either nobody comes to the United States or it’s too astronomically expensive to go through all of the vetting possible.” "