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As refugee admissions drop, fewer persecuted Christians admitted to US: World Relief

Thousands of Syrian refugees walk in order to cross into Turkey on June 14, 2015, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa Province, in southeastern Turkey. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

(RNS) — The number of Christian refugees coming to the United States from the countries where Christians are most persecuted has dropped dramatically under President Trump’s administration.

That comes despite the president’s pledge during his first week in office that helping persecuted Christians overseas would be a priority for his administration.

According to a new analysis by Matthew Soerens of World Relief, an evangelical Christian organization with a long history of resettling refugees, the number of Christian refugees admitted to the U.S. from countries noted for their persecution dropped nearly 79 percent between fiscal years 2016 and 2018.

A total 1,215 Christian refugees were welcomed from those countries in fiscal 2018, Trump’s first full year in office, which ended Sept. 30. That’s a drop from 5,731 in fiscal 2016, former President Obama’s last full year in office, which Soerens said was a “uniquely high time for refugee resettlement.”

“This dynamic with persecuted Christians and religious minorities, in particular, does not fit the campaign rhetoric, and it’s not consistent with the focus on international religious freedom that I think is an admirable goal,” Soerens said.

Soerens based his analysis on numbers from the U.S. State Department’s Refugee Processing Center and the 11 countries where Open Doors USA reports Christians face the most persecution: North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, Eritrea, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Iran and India.

“The number of people who are coming from many of those countries is 20, 23, 26 — to me, you could put them all on a small bus — compared to thousands who were coming in any given year of the previous administration or of the Bush administration,” he said.

The 2018 World Watch List compiled by OpenDoors where Christians are most persecuted. Map courtesy of OpenDoors

The total number of Christian refugees admitted since 2016 declined about 57 percent, according to the analysis.

Soerens also said the total number of Muslim refugees admitted in that time declined 91 percent, a development he called “incredibly troubling.”

The decline in Muslim refugees is no surprise, said Soerens, given that Trump pledged during the 2016 presidential campaign to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country and signed an executive order soon after taking office that impacted travel from countries with large Muslim populations. Many viewed the executive order as a Muslim ban.

Trump has set the refugee ceiling for the current fiscal year at 30,000 people — the lowest in the history of the U.S. refugee resettlement program, which started in the 1980s — despite calls from many people of faith to raise it to at least 75,000.

The president already had slashed that number dramatically when he set it at 45,000 his first year in office, a drop from 110,000 in Obama’s last year in office. The country admitted a fraction of that number in fiscal 2018: 22,491 refugees.

About the author

Emily McFarlan Miller

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.

13 Comments

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  • It’s ironic, isn’t it, that those who would prevent Muslims from obtaining refuge would end up hurting Christians as well.

  • No, hair-standing prophetic…

    Your leaders are rebellious, and companions of thieves: they all love gifts, and follow after rewards: they deny justice to the fatherless, neither does the plight of the widow come to them. -Isaiah 1:23

    Perverse men of corrupt minds, destitute of the Truth, supposing that gain is godliness…-1Tim 6:5 Having eyes full of sexual desires, and cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: a mind they have exercised with greedy practices; cursed men..-.2Peter 2:14 They turn justice to bitterness, and neglect whats right… -Amos 5:7 they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the people from whats right.- 5:12 They oppress the people to increase their riches, and they give to the rich…-Prov 22:16 They speak great swelling words of pride, they manipulate using the desires of the people, through much wantonness… While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption…-2 Peter2:19

    …they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter (district). -Isa 56:11 In whose hands is mischief, and their right hand (priority) is full of bribes. -Psa 26:10 …but these, as natural brute beasts (belligerents), made to be taken and destroyed, shall utterly perish in their own corruption; -2 Peter 2:12

    They speak vanity every one with his neighbor: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.- Psa 12:2 They flatter with their tongue. There is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is truly wicked; their throat is an open tomb.-Psa 5:9 …they serve their own belly; and by GOOD words and FAIR speeches deceive the minds of the simple. -Rom 16:18
    They come to you as the people come …they hear your words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goes after their greed.-Ezekiel 33:31

  • You can’t claim “…would end up hurting Christians…” as that is spacious without knowing how or why Christian refugee numbers are down.

    When McDonalds began selling salads the number of salads sold didn’t correlate directly to the lower number of large fries sold- there was little exchange of one for the other even though people may have imagined it.

    See, people ordered less large fries because they saw the healthier menu and felt guilty about the old unhealthy fries. There was no exchange but rather a correlation with the associated idea of health being offered by the golden arches for a change.

    Ever read Freakonomics ? It dealt primarily with human wants so perhaps we need to ask why the number of Christians applying for refuge is down if because say, umm, *their numbers are down across the Middle East*? The dead don’t want.

    Often the cause is not as simple as we imagine… wouldn’t surprise me if the number of Christians applying to enter the USA is down now because they have been purged for mohammed’s ongoing jihad. There’s about 800 people per month murdered in the name of Islam and most of them are in the Mid East so yeah, how are the numbers of actual living Christians in those nations?

    Hmm, and then there’s the fact that Australia takes in 200K refuge seekers annually and the conservative government prefers Christians over potential jihadist bomb makers.

  • ” as that is spacious without knowing how or why Christian refugee numbers are down.”

    You didn’t read the article. It is because refugee numbers are down in general across the board. Thanks to the white supremacist enabling anti-immigration policies of our current president.

    ” wouldn’t surprise me if the number of Christians applying to enter the USA is down now because they have been purged for mohammed’s ongoing jihad.”

    Funny how the stuff you spew about Muslims has this tendency to enable Islamicist terrorism and its goals.

    Its almost as if they want anti-muslim sentiment in the developed world because it aids in their recruiting and creation of support networks. Oh wait it does
    https://warisboring.com/the-islamic-states-assault-on-the-gray-zone/

    For Daesh’s apocalyptic ideology, a pluralistic and inclusive society is repulsive and must be destroyed. To further that goal, the group seeks to widen the differences which exist, by definition, in a pluralistic community.

    In other words, it’s a wedge strategy. And once the Islamic State can drive enough of a wedge between Muslims and non-Muslims, it can more easily radicalize and recruit.

    ISIS does well with stooges such as yourself

  • Washington Times? LMAO. The headlines and links do not match the allegations. Lazy reporting by them. Lazy reference by you.

    Snopes called BS on that story a while ago
    https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/three-million-votes-in-presidential-election-cast-by-illegal-aliens/

    As did Politifact
    https://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2017/jun/22/ainsley-earhardt/following-trump-voter-fraud-allegations-claim-57-m/

    And Factcheck.org
    https://www.factcheck.org/2018/07/noncitizens-get-narrow-access-to-polls-in-san-francisco/

    and Time Magazine
    http://time.com/4669899/illegal-citizens-voting-trump/

    Most importantly
    https://www.propublica.org/article/kris-kobach-voter-fraud-kansas-trial
    How the Case for Voter Fraud Was Tested — and Utterly Failed
    From a new Supreme Court ruling to a census question about citizenship, the campaign against illegal registration is thriving. But when the top proponent was challenged in a Kansas courtroom to prove that such fraud is rampant, the claims went up in smoke.

  • Way to post BS Spam unrelated to the story

    Snopes called BS on that story a while ago
    https://www.snopes.com/fact

    As did Politifact
    https://www.politifact.com/

    And Factcheck.org
    https://www.factcheck.org/2

    and Time Magazine
    http://time.com/4669899/ill

    Most importantly
    https://www.propublica.org/
    How the Case for Voter Fraud Was Tested — and Utterly Failed
    From a new Supreme Court ruling to a census question about citizenship, the campaign against illegal registration is thriving. But when the top proponent was challenged in a Kansas courtroom to prove that such fraud is rampant, the claims went up in smoke.

  • What I found quite interesting is the inclusion of Mexico – you know build that wall – as a country ranking high in persecution of Christians. ‘Nuff said.

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