SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — “Syrian people are not different than other people. They’re regular people. They’re good people and they’re peaceful,” said a Syrian refugee speaking through an interpreter with CBS13 on Monday.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen to me,” the man said, “I was going in an unknown direction.”
This Syrian refugee, who wanted his identity withheld, was caught in the middle while in Syria. He wasn’t in support of the government or the rebels. He says he faced threats from both sides.
“Do you know that if I go back to Syria, the army would kill me?” he said.
So the man fled with his wife and three children to Lebanon, Egypt and eventually America this past July. He says he’s lucky to be in his new home, but is worried about getting his extended family here.
“Any president has the right to protect his country,” said the man about Trump’s executive order. “But when he focus on Syrian refugees, this is very wrong because Syrian refugees are the most people that need to come to the United States these days.”
He stresses that Syrians are regular people who should not be discriminated against.
“I feel sad and I get bothered when they say Islamic are terrorists, or Muslims are terrorists,” he said.
He says he went through 19 months of vetting by the United States. It included four interviews and several background checks to get on American soil.
Trump’s executive order calls for the halt of immigration from seven counties including Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, and Yemen for the next 90 days. The refugee program is also put on hold for 120 days, or until top officials deem the program is no longer “detrimental to American interests.”
“It’s extreme in certain areas, but it’s not extreme in others,” said Jim Brulte, the chairman of the California Republican Party. “We don’t do a real in-depth look; not everyone is interviewed.”
Brulte says he’s not opposed to refugees coming into America, but would like to certain sections of the vetting process improved.
“Hopefully, the pause will be short as they really ratchet down and make sure that we’re safe,” said Brulte.
While he didn’t go into detail about what parts of the process needed a review, he did point to points of rising concern. Including terror attacks in other countries and the 2015 San Bernardino shooting in his home county that left 14 people dead.
“It makes sense to slow the process down and make sure we get it right,” said Brulte.