Utah Accepting Refugees

Allie Oniki, Staff Writer

After the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015, citizens and political leaders
alike are heavily debating the issue of admitting refugees into the United States. Utah is among
the few states in the country granting admission to these emigrants.
The state expects to receive a few hundred refugees between March and October,
according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Gary Herbert’s spokesmen, John Cox, issued a statement
saying, “Utahns are well known for our compassion for those who are fleeing the violence in
their homeland, and we will work to do all we can to ease their suffering without compromising
safety.” Barack Obama agrees, saying, “We do not close our hearts to these victims of such
violence and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism.”
Some are worried about terrorists entering the United States as refugees. After the Paris
attacks, a Syrian passport near one of the eight attackers was found. It had been scanned in
Greece, Serbia, and the Croatia in October, according to The Associated Press.
“We don’t want ISIS terrorists coming here under the guise of refugee status. Utah
should immediately suspend the acceptance until we are sure the screening process works,”
said Jonathan Johnson, chairman of overstock.com, who will be running for Utah governor in
2016. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, refugees go through a security check, biometric
screening, a medical test, and interviews that take roughly a year to complete to ensure that
they are safe to enter the country.
Some still believe this is a gamble. “If the person has never crossed our radar screen,
there won’t be anything to query against. So we do see a risk there,” FBI Director James Comey
said.
Governor Herbert is aware of the risk. “Let’s get on the prevention side and make sure
that the federal government, which has the number one responsibility, is doing all they can to
prevent terrorists from coming into our country,” Herbert told Fox 13 News.