Immigrant Action

6 Security Tools Used to Screen Immigrants

by | Immigrant Voices | 0 comments

Immigration control and U.S. border security are among the most divisive and hottest American political topics today.

Even so…

Technology is an important aspect of border security in America, not politics. It contains a flood of people from across the globe and counters the influx of illegal substances, including drugs and other contraband.

U.S. authorities must defend the long and mostly isolated land borders to the north and south, covering thousands of miles along the coastline. They must also secure the nation’s vast airspace.

Although human eyes and paper are still used to monitor the borders and identify known criminals and repeat offenders, more advanced measures have been adopted.

The coastlines and borders of the nation are under constant surveillance from the following:

  • Aerostats
  • Satellites and sensor-packed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)
  • Boats
  • Manned aircraft
  • Ground vehicles

President Donald Trump promised to deploy the “extreme vetting” of immigrants and foreign travelers. He pointed widespread vetting failures to many terrorists gaining access to the United States of America.

A number of terrorism vetting failure enhancements were deployed in response to September 11, 2001, attacks on the twin towers. However, vetting failures aren’t just rare but have also reduced significantly since the 9/11 attacks.

Here’re a few security tools and techniques used to screen immigrants into the U.S.

The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) and the refugee resettlement process require immigrants to undergo background checks and security screening prior to entering the U.S.

USRAP is a combinational effort of different non-governmental and governmental partners in the U.S. and abroad. The screening tools used include:

USRAP Screening – Biometric and Biographic Checks

Conducted at varying stages throughout the immigrant screening process, USRAP screening includes both biographic and biometric checks. The screening occurs at any of the following stages:

  • Immediately post the preliminary Resettlement Support Center (RSC) interview
  • Prior to an immigrant or refugee departing the U.S.
  • Upon an immigrant’s arrival at the U.S. entry port.

The RSCs initiates various biographic checks when screening immigrants and refugee applicants. Various U.S. government agencies screen and resolve the varied applications. They include:

  • DOS consular lookout and support system (CLASS) – pre-screens name checks prior to the USCIS interview.
  • Security advisory opinion (SAO)
  • Interagency check (IAC) – screens birth dates, names, and other data points. Fingerprints are collected and biometric checks are done. Biometric checks include:


  • DHS automated biometric identification system
  • FBI fingerprint check via next-generation identification
  • Automated biometric identification system (ABIS) of DOD defense forensics and biometric agency

Physical screening may also include the use of metal detectors to pinpoint any hidden metal items or weapons not allowed into the U.S. such as https://leisurehead.com/best-pinpointer-metal-detector-reviews.

USCIS Interview

An important part of the refugee/immigrant screening process is the USCIS interview. However, it isn’t a system check. USCIS officers are highly trained to conduct extensive interviews in-person overseas.

Every applicant is expected to elicit eligibility requirements for their immigrant/refugee status. The interviewing officers do the following:

  • Verifies and confirms an immigrant applicant’s fundamental biographic data
  • Verifies that the immigrant was given USRAP access in the proper way
  • Ascertains whether the applicant has previous experience with persecution or fear of the same in the future based on religion, race, specific social group membership, nationality, or political opinion in the person’s home country.
  • Determines whether the immigrant applicant has never taken part in persecuting others and is admissible to the U.S.
  • Ascertains whether there’s a need for discretion to favorably approve an application.
  • Determines whether the main applicant has found resettlement in another nation; if that’s the case, the immigrant applicant becomes ineligible for USRAP resettlement.

The officer develops questions to help elicit information about terrorist involvement, persecution, criminal activity, or torture of others. He also carries out a credibility screening on every immigrant applicant, ensuring that it’s consistent with the REAL ID Act.

USCIS officers are trained on issues specific to countries prior to the interview. The issues touch on the populations meant for interviews, including policy, briefings from outside intelligence experts, and academic communities.

USCIS National Security Processing

The Controlled Application and Resolution Process (CARRP) is a USCIS-wide process for handling cases concerning national security.

Generally, when an individual or company has links to espionage, terrorism, technology, sabotage, sensitive information, or the illegal transfer of goods, in the past, currently, or in the future, a national security concern exists.

USCIS officers are trained to identify national security issues in immigrant or refugee applications. Identified concerns are sent for particular handling based on USCIS policy and procedures.

Enhanced FDNS Review (EFR)

The USCIS Refugee, Asylum, and International Operations Directorate (RAIO) and FDNS collaborate on the improved review of specific refugee or immigrant cases. The review includes:

  • Screening data against available public social media
  • Unclassified and classified research

The USCIS officer utilizes assessment information obtained from FDNS and RAIO synthesis for the interview. The interviewing officer uses the case-specific context offered to inform inquiry lines associated with the credibility and eligibility of the immigrant applicant.

CBP Vetting and Inspection

Immigrant applicants still undergo CBP vetting even after USCIS approval for refugee or immigrant status and possession of the USCIS-approved Form I-590.

CBP vetting is done before immigrants fly to the United States from a foreign country. The individuals are also inspected for admission into the U.S. at the port of entry for the final determination of admission into the U.S.

The Minnesota Department of Health (with CDC) for Medical Examination

Immigrant and refugee applicants also undergo domestic medical screening or evaluation. Asymptomatic immigrants with clinical complaints receive diagnostic and testing guidance based on the sign and symptoms presented.

The checklist isn’t mandatory but more of a clinical guide for extensive medical evaluation. The checklist customizes guidelines for screening individuals based on sex, age, and country of origin.

The checklist includes:

  • General medical examination – pregnancy test, nutrition, and growth
  • Immunization
  • Mental health screening
  • General laboratory testing – urinalysis, infant metabolic screening, complete blood count, and testing serum and glucose chemistries.
  • Disease-specific laboratory testing – lead testing, TB, malaria, STD, and HIV.


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