Safety fears unfounded after extreme vetting

Worried about bringing Syrian refugees to Canada from Lebanon?

Don’t be, says Sam Nammoura, co-founder of the volunteer Syrian Refugees Support Group. This family hasn’t just been screened, it’s been “extreme vetted” three times.

The first vetting was by Lebanese security. “They have their own way of [determining] who is coming in, who they are, who they are associated with. If there is anybody who might cause a threat to Lebanon, they will be removed or imprisoned.”

The proof of that, he says, is the lack of terrorist incidents in Lebanon compared to Turkey.

The second vetting was done by the United Nations (UN). In order to register as refugees with the UN, you have to provide proof of who you are and documentation.

The third vetting is done by Canadian authorities in Lebanon. They have their own process, independent of the others.

While refugees became a topic in the Canadian federal election in 2015 and in the U.S. presidential election in October, the fears raised have no bearing on families coming from refugee camps in Lebanon, he says.

“I can understand if Canada was, all of a sudden, flooded with one million Syrian refugees on the border. I understand that fear,” he says, but Canada’s only border is with the U.S. “In order to reach this land you have to go through so many layers and layers and layers … and you have to wait a year and a half or whatever.”

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