WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Some 58 percent of voters in the United States said homegrown jihadists present a greater threat than refugees, according to the Quinnipiac University Poll. In contrast, 16 percent of respondents said terrorists hiding among refugees were a greater threat.
"Americans are far more concerned about the threat from within, homegrown terrorists, than they are about someone being welcomed to the US as a refugee and committing an act of terror," Quinnipiac University Poll Assistant Director Tim Malloy said.
Malloy argued that voters are aware of "meticulous" vetting processes that Syrian asylum seekers face before being accepted as refugees. The US State Department says the average processing time from a UN Refugee Agency referral to arrival to the US is 18-24 months.
The armed attackers, who were later killed in a shootout with police, were identified as Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27. Authorities do not rule out terrorism as a possible motive of the mass shooting.
Over 30 state governors have expressed opposition to US President Barack Obama’s proposal to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the United States, despite a lack of authority to enforce these decisions.
Fears of extremist elements hiding among Syrian refugees resurfaced after a reportedly forged Syrian refugee passport was found near the body of one of the November 13 Paris suicide bombers. The passport holder was said to have been registered upon arrival in Greece in October, then formally requested asylum in Serbia before traveling to Croatia, Hungary and Austria.