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NC Groups Prepare to Welcome More Syrian Refugees

Resettled Syrian refugees in Greensboro attend a Cultural Orientation class where they receive education on U.S. customs, health care, education and planning for success in the U.S. Courtesy: Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program.
Resettled Syrian refugees in Greensboro attend a Cultural Orientation class where they receive education on U.S. customs, health care, education and planning for success in the U.S. Courtesy: Church World Service Immigration and Refugee Program.
September 15, 2015

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - North Carolina will likely receive some of the 10,000 Syrian refugees President Barack Obama says the U.S. will admit for resettlement over the next 12 months.

Church World Service (CWS), with offices in Charlotte, Greensboro and Durham, has already helped place 25 Syrian refugees earlier this year, after they went through a rigorous background check.

Sarah Ivory, a CWS spokeswoman, says it's important to understand the experience people arriving have had in their native country.

"The people that are coming to the refugee program are people who are fleeing the very terrorism that we want to protect ourselves from as well," says Ivory. "Our screening processes are so incredibly rigorous, and will continue to be so for this population."

Ivory explains the amount of vetting the refugees go through makes it unlikely that any of them could pose a danger to citizens here. CWS is waiting for more information on the families it will help relocate.

Ivory and others believe the U.S. should be offering to host more refugees. She points to other, smaller countries with less resources offering to help thousands more people, and adds her organization is receiving more offers for help than they have need.

"Ten-thousand refugees for a nation as large and resource-rich as the United States is really falling woefully short of what we're capable of providing, and what we have a moral responsibility to provide," says Ivory.

The United Kingdom is resettling 20,000 Syrians, but some European Union countries – including Austria, Slovakia and the Netherlands – are tightening their borders after Germany made a similar decision.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 3 million have fled to Syria's immediate neighbors and more than 6 million are displaced within the country of Syria as a result of its civil war.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC