BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Earlier this month, County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced the Erie County Department of Social Services was getting ready to accommodate as many as 300 Syrian refugees.
"I think we're all kind of coming to grips with how quickly this is an evolving situation and the numbers are kind of changing on a day-to-day basis," Community for Global Health Equity Director Dr. Pavani Ram said.
This weekend the Secretary of State announced the U.S. is planning to increase the threshold of refugees, including Syrians, it would take into the country over the next two years.
"Refugees leaving Syria are coming not only because of economic conditions, but also because of real threat of civil conflict that's ongoing and their own personal experiences, often of trauma and torture," Ram said.
Local organizations that assist refugees said there's no way to know for sure how many Syrians could seek asylum in Western New York. It's not clear when they might be coming either.
"You can't rush the vetting process," Medaille Homeland Security Program Director Steven MacMartin said.
"There's going to be problems with the vetting process. I don't see it as a problem that can be solved easily."
The former Homeland Security agent believes it will be nearly impossible for the U.S. to keep ISIS terrorists from infiltrating the group.
"Even if there is a proper relationship with the SyriaN government, I've got to assume because of the civil war over there, their records and their data bases are in shambles," MacMartin said. "So you're not going to get proper records. You're not going to get birth certificates. You're not going to get work histories. You're not going to get their versions of social security numbers."
Long Island Congressman Chris Gibson spoke at Daemen College on Tuesday about the situtaion. The House Armed Service Committee Member is calling for the U.S. to do more to help broker peace in the Syrian civil war.
"What I want to ensure the folks in Erie County and throughout our state and our country is that our Government's going to do everything that we can to keep them safe, on this particular issue on the screening, but really on all matters," Gibson said.
Ram is a UB health professor, but wanted to make clear she was speaking for herself. She believes there's an international responsibility to help.
"The sense that I'm getting from looking at reports is that people are dying in Syria or they're dying on their way out of Syria, but they'd rather take the chance now," Ram said. "That to me does not speak to people who are trying to do harm in the place they're going."
Consistent with most hotly debated topics, people disagree.
"I can't think of a specific time where we were considering accepting refugees from an area actively waging war against the United States," MacMartin said.