Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

White House Defends Refugee Screening Process
U.S. State Department
File photo of the Za'atri camp in Jordan for Syrian refugees.

Some Oregon and Washington lawmakers have called for at least a temporary halt to refugee resettlement. They want the federal government to beef up its screening process. But White House officials said in a conference call with reporters Monday that the process is already rigorous.

"The refugees seeking admission to the United States undergo the most intense security vetting of any immigrant seeking admission to our nation,” Deputy Director of Homeland Security Alejandro Majorkas said.

Majorkas said the process can take up to two years and that priority is given to single females, people who have experienced torture, and those with family members already living here.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Oregon Governor Kate Brown have said they support refugees from all nations who wish to settle in their states. Idaho Governor Butch Otter is among more than two dozen mostly Republican governors who have called on President Obama to halt refugee resettlement programs.