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How refugees are admitted to the country

Foreign refugees who want to relocate to South Carolina or anywhere else in the country must go through a rigorous screening process before they are admitted to the United States. The first thing that a person must do is to apply for refugee status by showing evidence that they have been forced to leave their home country. Refugees are eligible for asylum in the U.S. if they are being persecuted in their home country because of their race, religion or political opinion.

Many refugees apply for refugee status through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. After the UNHCR identifies refugee candidates, the candidates are referred to various countries for resettlement.

After a person is identified as a legitimate refugee, they must pass several background screenings. A variety of agencies, including the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Interpol and the National Counterterrorism Center, provide the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with background information that is needed to assess a potential refugee's eligibility. The refugee applicant also must complete an interview with a USCIS officer and submit to a medical screening. Certain Syrian refugees cases involve an enhanced review for national security purposes.

A person who is applying for refugee status in the United States may have a better outcome with the representation of an immigration law attorney. Legal counsel may be able to gather evidence of the applicant's eligibility for asylum and prepare the applicant for the interview. If a person's asylum application was turned down, an attorney can often be of assistance in appealing the decision.

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