In this video released after terrorist attacks in Paris in 2016, John Oliver looks at how refugees and specifically those from Syria, can be admitted to the United States. 

He lists the steps:

  1. Apply through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (less than 1% end up being recommended for resettlement)
  2. Vetting process at the State Department including screenings through  the National Counter Terrorism Center, the FBI, and The Department of Homeland Security.
  3. If you are a Syrian Refugee. You get the “Syria Advanced Review”
  4. Interview with the USCIS offices and fingerprinted to run through the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense databases.
  5. Health screenings
  6. Enrolled in cultural information classes while your information is checked again.

Ultimately, Oliver argues that while there is no way to guarantee that a terrorist would not be able to somehow make it through this screening process, that risk is very low while the benefits for those refugees are very high. In reality, of the 784,000 people who have entered the United States, only 3 have been arrested for planning terrorist activities – Oliver jokes that more people in the U.S. are killed in cars, by peanuts, drowning, and by cows, than by refugees.