Greensboro organization receives threats amid concerns over Syrian refugees
Posted November 18, 2015
Greensboro, N.C. — On Wednesday night, more North Carolina leaders backed a call to stop the settlement of refugees in the state, one day after a local organization that works with refugees received threats.
North Carolina’s most powerful lawmakers agreed with Governor Pat McCrory about halting the admittance of Syrian refugees to the state until they are satisfied with the background and security checks they go through.
Those who work with local refugees say that the lawmakers have sparked fear in the community.
“The statements of many politicians over the last few days have enticed a significant amount of fear,” said Church World Service Director, Ellen Andrews.
For years, the nonprofit Church World Service has helped resettle refugees from all over the world in the Triangle area. On Tuesday, a threat was called into the organization’s Greensboro office. Andrews would not talk about the nature of the threat.
“It was terrifying. We worry tremendously about the safety of our clients. We also worry about the safety of our staff,” said Andrews.
Church World Service settles around 250 refugees from all over the world each year. Candidates who have already fled persecution in their home countries are screened by multiple United States agencies before they board a plane for America, said Andrews.
“They involve checking people against terrorist watch lists, doing bio-metric screenings, their fingerprints,” Andrews explained. “Any inconsistencies in a person’s story will be very, very carefully explored.”
The screening process can take up to two years or more. Andrews said organizations that help settle refugees have in interest in making sure they do not pose a threat.
“We are talking about people fleeing the very things we are afraid of,” said Andrews.