TAMPA — It'll either have you talking or scratching your head. There's a picture sent out by the Donald Trump campaign that's getting reactions like these.
“I think that's a terrible statement. Who made that statement?”
“I don't get it.”
“It's a very important discussion, but there's probably a more professional and profound way to state it.”
It's this; A campaign tweet from Donald Trump Jr. saying, “If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful? That's our Syrian refugee problem.”
But Magda Saleh, president of Radiant Hands in Tampa, who works to resettle refugees including Syrians says this is way off base.
“Politicians can spew as much hate as they want, but in the end, everybody is protected by the law,” Saleh said.
Refugees have the same rights as naturalized citizens.
Here's the thing. Refugees are screened by the United Nations.
Then, their names, biographical information and fingerprints are run through terrorism and criminal databases.
They are interviewed by the Department of Homeland Security, screened again, and Syrian refugees have to clear one more hurdle. Their documents are placed under extra scrutiny.
They’re crossreferenced with classified and unclassified information.
Critics says there’s not enough information in the process allowing terrorists to slip through, but the State Department says that hasn’t happened yet.
The whole process can take two years or longer and happens before a refugee even steps foot in the U.S.
“Any of these families. if they had a choice not to come, they wouldn't come. But they've lost their homes. Some of them have lost their entire cities,” Saleh said.
When refugees get here Saleh says they're given about $1,100 and three months support on Medicaid and food stamps. That's it.
So she says, the comparison to Skittles, “I don't listen to it. I tell people that's not what America is. I've been here my whole life and Americans are good people.”
Since Oct. 1 of last year, the U.S. has taken in more than 8,500 Syrian refugees.