New Jersey has taken in almost as many Syrian refugees in the past month as it did in 2014 and 2015 combined, according to State Department data analyzed by The Record.
Since Oct. 1, 2015, 194 refugees — out of some 7,762 across the country — have settled in New Jersey. While 24 were settled in New Jersey in the first two quarters of the fiscal year, 90 arrived from April through June and 80 came since July 1.
The increase is the result of a “surge” of employees volunteering to work in refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Wednesday, not a reduction in the vetting process.
“We have not shortcut the process and in fact we have added security checks,” Johnson said.
Some 76 of the 80 recent arrivals went to Elizabeth and Jersey City. A spokesman for Gov. Chris Christie said the Republican has consistently stated that his opposition to the program is rooted in the “inadequate security vetting, safeguards and assurances being offered by the federal government.”
Although Syrian refugees have been behind several horrific terror attacks in Europe last month, Johnson said he had no concerns. He said the program is on track to meet President Obama’s goal of settling 10,000 people by Sept. 30.