The IRC Refutes Misconceptions of Those Seeking Refuge in the US
Steve Adubato goes one-on-one with Hans Van de Weerd, Vice President of the International Rescue Committee’s US Programs, about the misinformation and misconceptions about those seeking refuge on our shores, and their contributions to the United States.
"We welcome Hans Van de Weerd, who is Vice President, International Rescue Committee, US Programs. Good to see you Hans. Thank you for having me. Happy birthday. Thank you for that too. The public television family welcomes you and wishes you a happy birthday. The organization, talk about what it does. So the International Rescue Committee is an international aid agency, and we provide support to refugees, people that are suffering from conflict, disaster all over the world and in the United States. And our good friend and a board member here at public broadcasting, Josh Weston, told us about you and your organization. He said one of the most important things, and he's right about this, is that we have the responsibility to try to clarify some things about refugees in terms of the vetting process. What the facts are and what the misconceptions are. What are the facts when it comes to refugees and how are they vetted? So the first fact that I want to share with you Steve, is that there is no harder way to get into the United States than through the refugee resettlement program. Other than, perhaps, swimming the Atlantic Ocean. Refugees undergo very extensive security screenings that take, all in all, more than one and a half years where they are being vetted by multiple government agencies including the State Department, intelligence agencies, so before a refugee gets here, so many people have actually checked their stories and have made sure that they are who they say they are. So it's a big myth that we don't know who is coming to the United States. We know exactly who is coming to the United States. Why do you think, Hans, that there is so much confusion about the borders being porous? About refugees just coming in and we can't have this? And the perception that everything you just said just couldn't be the case... it's not the case? Well, I think it's really important that we explain what the facts are because if people don't have that information, they don't know. Where do they get the idea, do you think, that it's not the case? I think that there has been a lot of fact-less information being put out by people who are not necessarily in favor of foreigners coming to the United States, who use fear in order to move forward an agenda. A political agenda. And where it is always important to have people that you can blame for economic distress or where you can blame people for security risks. And I think in this case, it's been very easy to blame refugees for problems that they have really nothing to do with..."