The numbers of Syrian refugees in the New Orleans area

By Isadora Linheira

Despite blog posts and social media rumors indicating that thousands of Syrian refugees had already arrived in the New Orleans area, the U.S. State Department reported only 14 Syrian nationals have resettled in Louisiana since January.

The State Department’s Refugee Processing Center handled three cases, settling seven refugees in Kenner, six in New Orleans and one in Baton Rouge, a spokesperson said.

Fake reports started circulating in the New Orleans area, about 10,000 Syrians refugees coming to town after the terrorist attacks in Paris Friday that left more than 129 people dead. Gov. Bobby Jindal, expressed concern about the immigration of Syrian refugees.

According to the State Department spokesperson, the White House in September announced plans to resettle a total of 10,000 Syrian refugees throughout the United States during 2016. As of Sunday, Nov. 15, the government has resettled a total 1,809 Syrian nationals since Jan. 1. Thirty-two states have taken in Syrian refugees, with the highest numbers in Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies conduct extensive, enhanced screening of refugees, according to the State Department. The process can take 12 to 18 months. Homeland Security agents review personal and background information and conduct in-depth, in-person interviews outside of the United States to ensure they meet necessary criteria. They must also undergo health screenings. However, the State Department does not have any projections on how many Syrians will be resettled in each state, at this time.

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