Obama Administration Official: We Don’t Screen Refugees For Radical Views

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Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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A State Department official could not answer Wednesday whether refugees are screened for radical views during a senate hearing.

Republican Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions asked Simon Henshaw, principal deputy assistant secretary at the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migrants of the U.S. Department of State, “do you make any inquiry about practices that we reject in the United States, like female genital mutilation?”

Sessions added, “Do you say, ‘do you believe in that and when you come to the United States will you comply with the laws of the United States on that kind of question?'”

The State Department official replied, “On all questions, we make it clear to refugees that we are a nation of laws and that they need to comply with our laws.”

“But you don’t ask them whether they would comply with that law?,” Sessions asked Henshaw. He replied, “I can’t answer that question. I don’t know.”

When Sen. Sessions asked Henshaw if they inquire if a refugee supports honor killings, Henshaw didn’t definitively answer the question. He instead pointed to a “cultural orientation program.” At least 23 refugees have been implicated in terrorism in the United States since 2010.


During the Senate subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest hearing, Henshaw also stated that refugees are not asked whether they are literate in their own language. “Our decision to bring in refugees are based on their vulnerabilities,” the State Department official said.

Henshaw also said that job skills or education is not considered in the screening process of a refugee. Sessions said, “Well if they are illiterate in their home country, then the aren’t likely to be a police officer the next week in the United States are they?”