Bowling Green Preparing for Syrian Refugees

Apr 20, 2016

Credit markuk97, 123rf Stock Photo

Bowling Green is preparing to welcome Syrian refugees later this year who are fleeing their country’s civil war. The re-settlement is raising concerns among some in the community.

In a meeting this week, the Bowling Green International Center and its community partners agreed to begin accepting 40 Syrian refugees in October. The resettlement has drawn the ire of some locals who are worried about the threat of terrorism.

Albert MBanfu heads the International Center, "The fear is real but at the same time we cannot allow fear to overcome the best that we have amongst us as Americans."

He says refugees wanting to harm the U.S. would not likely come through the re-settlement program.

MBanfu says immigrants must complete a 14-step vetting process. He added that any Syrian wanting to harm the U.S. would likely not come through the refugee program. Instead, they would likely arrive with a visitor’s visa that doesn’t require background checks.

Questions about the re-settlement process were raised after the arrests of two Iraqi men who were living in Bowling Green in 2011. Both are in prison for conspiring to send weapons and cash to the terrorist group Al-Qaeda.

The 40 Syrians are only a fraction of the 400 other refugees coming to Bowling Green this year, including from Africa, Asia, and Cuba.