Officials predict the U.S. will see a significant influx of refugees from Syria over the next few months. And many will likely settle in Metro Detroit.
Obama Administration officials say the U.S. plans to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of September – a tiny percentage of the nearly five million people estimated to have been displaced from that country.
But the Administration says only about 1,700 of those refugees have settled in the U.S. since last October. Roughly that same number of refugees would have to arrive each month for the White House to reach its goal by the fall.
About 12% of the Syrian refugee population in the U.S. has settled in Michigan and federal officials say Metro Detroit will probably see many more in the coming months, drawn to an area with one of the largest populations of Arabs and Arab Americans in the country.
Some government officials, including Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Congresswoman Candace Miller, have raised concerns that terrorist groups could gain access to the U.S. by hiding operatives within the refugee population.
White House officials counter that refugees are screened more thoroughly than any other traveler to the U.S. Some states have withdrawn from the refugee resettlement program, though Michigan agencies continue to work with it.