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Refugee Town Hall Turns into Heated Discussion

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Bowling Green, KY (WNKY-TV) Last month, the International Center of Kentucky said 440 refugees will be relocating to Bowling Green over the course of
a year. 40 of those refugees are Syrian, which sparked some public concern.

"This is not the right time to bring in Syrian Muslim refugees," says a concerned resident.

A town hall meeting on Friday gave over a hundred people in the community the chance to be heard. The meeting began with the International Center giving a presentation out lining the current vetting process for refugees, including the tighter process Syrians have to go through.

Albert Mbanfu, International Center Executive Director, says,"these are steps that the security agencies in the United States have decided to
make public, there are other layers that are not previewed to us."

Then, it was the community's turn to speak. The big question, who decided these refugees were coming to Bowling Green, and why?

"What elected voice of the people said bring them some more, we've done our share and more but we still want to do even more," says a concerned resident.

The answer: the Federal Government. The issue of a lack of a vetting process also brought about varying opinions.

"If we are going to bring anyone into our community these are the safest possible bet," says a concerned resident.
Another concerned resident said, "the director of the FBI said he did not trust the vetting system himself."

Officials in attendance say no system is 100 percent guaranteed, but if terrorists want to get into America they will.

"I feel pretty good about it. Is it fool proof? No," says a retired member of the military.

At a few points the discussion became heated which led to the Bowling Green Police Department getting involved.

"Lets stay calm," says a BGPD officer.

International Center workers say refugees have to be employed within 90 days of arriving to America, which is good for the city's economy.

"That's the number one reason why Bowling Green still remains a good resettlement site because the jobs are readily available," says an International Center worker. 

Another meeting will be held in the following months. Some say the meeting was helpful, while others left with more questions.

"I think the questions, a lot of them were avoided, there were some that were answered," says a concerned resident.

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