Only 23 Christian Refugees from Middle East Allowed Into U.S. in 2018; Trump Blames Obama Administration

Christian refugees displaced from Telskuf by the conflict between the Kurdish Peshmerga and the Iraqi Forces and Iranian backed Hashd al Shaabi in October 2017. (Photo by Elizabeth Fitt/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Christian refugees displaced from Telskuf by the conflict between the Kurdish Peshmerga and the Iraqi Forces and Iranian backed Hashd al Shaabi in October 2017. (Photo by Elizabeth Fitt/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

In a now embarrassing January 2017 interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Donald Trump was asked, “The refugee changes you’re looking to make, as it relates to persecuted Christians, do you see them as kind of a priority here?” Trump answered, “Yes. They’ve been horribly treated . . . We are going to help them.” However, a new letter from the Evangelical Immigration Table notes that in the first half of 2018, the Trump administration admitted only 23 Middle Eastern Christian refugees.

Trump’s full statement in the Christian Broadcasting Network interview doesn’t deny that Christians in the Middle East face danger but rather casts the blame for their lack of admission into the U.S. on the Obama administration.

Trump vowed to be a strong advocate for Christians who face persecution abroad. “Yes. They’ve been horribly treated. Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, at least very, very tough, to get into the United States,” said Trump in the interview. “If you were a Muslim you could come in. But if you were a Christian it was almost impossible. And the reason that was so unfair is that, everybody was persecuted in all fairness, they were chopping the heads off of everybody, but more so the Christians, and I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them.”

The letter from the Evangelical Immigration Table makes it clear that Trump has not even come close to keeping his promise to admit Christians facing persecution as refugees, let alone make helping Christian refugees a priority. “We’re writing to express our deep concern about the impact on international religious freedom of recent changes in the U.S. refugee resettlement program, which is coordinated by the Department of State but also involves a thorough screening process coordinated by the Department of Homeland Security,” notes the letter from Christian leaders.

“Throughout our history, the United States has offered safe haven to those fleeing religious persecution. The Refugee Act of 1980 specifically identifies religion as one of five enumerated grounds on which a claim to refugee status can be based, and many of the more than three million refugees admitted to the country since that time have fled persecution that was inflicted on them specifically because of their faith.”

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SOURCE: Stuart Anderson
Forbes