Archive for the ‘Trump and Christian refugees’ category

Trump cuts Obama’s refugee target in half, takes more Christians than Muslims

September 27, 2017

Trump cuts Obama’s refugee target in half, takes more Christians than Muslims, Washington Times,  September 26, 2017

President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Nov. 10, 2016. (Associated Press)

President Trump, in just eight months in office, has succeeded in upending U.S. refugee policy, cutting by more than half the 110,000-refugee target that the Obama administration had bequeathed him and dramatically shifting the demographics of who is accepted.

Gone is President Obama’s overwhelming focus on Muslims, and particularly on Syrians fleeing a civil war that his administration facilitated. Under Mr. Trump, the rate of Syrian refugees has been cut by more than 80 percent, and Christians have overtaken Muslims in total refugees resettled.

“It’s impossible to escape the clear message that there’s a new sheriff in town,” said Matthew O’Brien, research director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates for stricter refugee controls.

 The Trump changes have reverberated around the globe, with the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees drastically cutting the number of refugee candidates it submits to the U.S.

After recommending nearly 35,000 refugee candidates last year, the UNHCR submitted just 3,591 applications from January to July.

Refugee advocates say the U.S. is relinquishing its global leadership and moral standing and have challenged parts of the administration’s policy in the courts, pushing the country to move back toward the goals set by Mr. Obama.

The previous president called for up to 110,000 refugees to be admitted to the U.S. in 2017 and indicated that he wanted Syrians to be a large part of that, with the country on pace for more than 15,000 resettlements this year.

But Mr. Trump, as part of his first “extreme vetting” travel ban executive order, changed all that. He called for cutting the refugee cap from 110,000 to 50,000 and placed a four-month pause on the refugee program and a more lasting ban on Syrians.

Resistance by the courts, immigrant rights activists and Democrats on Capitol Hill dented those plans, but at the end of the fiscal year, it’s clear that the president mostly got his way.

As of Tuesday afternoon, with four days left in the fiscal year, the government had admitted slightly more than 53,000 refugees — less than half of Mr. Obama’s goal but slightly more than Mr. Trump wanted.

Perhaps the bigger impact was within the demographic breakdown, where Muslims dropped from nearly half of refugees under Mr. Obama to slightly more than a third. Christians, meanwhile, went from 43 percent to 53 percent under Mr. Trump.

Syrians, who represented a stunning 15 percent of all refugees under Mr. Obama, dropped to just 8 percent under Mr. Trump.

The State Department didn’t respond to an inquiry from The Times for this article.

Officials at the department are rushing to put together a recommendation for a refugee cap for fiscal year 2018, which begins Sunday.

Under the law, the administration is able to set an overall cap each year. It was set at 80,000 for the end of the Bush administration and beginning of the Obama administration, dropped to 70,000 in 2013, rose to 85,000 in 2016 and then to 110,000 this year.

Mr. Trump proposed cutting this year’s number to 50,000 and came close to fulfilling that, likely ending up just a few thousand over.

Courts had intervened, saying Mr. Trump couldn’t stop the arrival of refugees who had “close” ties to American entities, exempting them from his 50,000 cap.

The president is expected to suggest an even smaller refugee cap for 2018, analysts said. Several reports Tuesday put the figure at 45,000. The administration must conduct official consultations with Congress this week before finalizing the number.

Rep. Randy Hultgren, Illinois Republican and co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, said he was disappointed by the low figure.

“I believe we can balance both compassion and security and remain the world’s shining city on a hill,” he said in a statement, adding that he believed the U.S. should “trust our long-standing and rigorous vetting system” to weed out dangers while allowing the pipeline of refugees to flow.

Top Democrats, meanwhile, prodded the White House Wednesday over reports that it nixed a study that would have shown refugees were a net plus for the U.S. economy.

“It appears that the Trump Administration may have rejected these facts in order to present a biased, incomplete, and ultimately false political narrative,” the Democrats wrote in a letter demanding documents.

Advocates say the U.S. puts refugees through stricter screening than any other category of visitor or immigrant to the U.S. and that fears of terrorists using the program to exploit weaknesses are overblown.

But security analysts say countries such as Syria are so broken that the U.S. doesn’t have access to databases or on-the-ground information to vet the stories of would-be refugees.

Mr. O’Brien said his group doesn’t oppose refugees, which he said are part of America’s moral obligation. But he said the government simply can’t vet all cases.

“In those situations in the past, the default position has been to look to the interests of the refugee. I think after Sept. 11 that is an impossible circumstance,” he said. “There are some people where it’s just not going to be possible.”

Mr. O’Brien said Mr. Trump is flexing the powers that the law grants the president, learning that he doesn’t have to work through Congress to make major changes.

Even as some in the U.S. protest Mr. Trump’s changes, the rest of the world is adjusting.

The UNHCR — which screens and recommends to the U.S. potential refugees from some of the world’s hot spots — has drastically slowed the pipeline.

The number of Syrians submitted to the U.S. for resettlement screening is down more than 80 percent so far this year. Similar drops were recorded for Somalia, Iran and Afghanistan. Iraq had an even bigger drop in submission rate by the UNHCR.

Liberal Democrats ignore persecution of Christians outside the U.S.

February 11, 2017

Liberal Democrats ignore persecution of Christians outside the U.S., Washington Times

christiansintroubleDozens of Coptic Christians were killed in a December bombing at St. Mark Cathedral in central Cairo. Each month, about 322 Christians are killed, 214 churches or Christian properties are destroyed, and 772 acts of violence are carried out. . . .

 

“I think the case could be made that Donald Trump did more in one afternoon than President Obama did over the last six years.”

**********************

Advocates who work to protect persecuted groups say there is a “blind spot” in the West concerning the plight faced by Christians around the world — a shortsightedness evident in the overwhelmingly negative reaction to President Trump’s executive order granting preferred refugee status to persecuted religious minorities.

From the Coptics in Egypt and the “house churches” in China to the “subversives” in North Korea and the “apostates” in Pakistan, Christians are under fire on the international stage.

Paul Coleman, deputy director of the Alliance Defending Freedom International, said the international persecution of Christians is unrivaled.

“No person or group should live in fear of being killed, tortured or oppressed because of their religious beliefs,” Mr. Coleman said in a statement. “By all accounts Christians are the most persecuted group on the planet.”

Each month, about 322 Christians are killed, 214 churches or Christian properties are destroyed, and 772 acts of violence are carried out on Christians because of their faith, according to Open Doors, a nonprofit group that helps persecuted Christians.

Andrew Doran, vice president of In Defense of Christians, said their cries for help often fall on deaf ears in Europe and the United States because Christianity is the dominant faith in an increasingly secular culture.

Mr. Doran pointed to the Obama administration’s lethargic response to the Islamic State’s Christian genocide, saying people who see Christians as domestic enemies have trouble shifting gears when atrocities are committed against the faith group on the global stage.

“Christians in the West have been somehow identified as the oppressor class, and that view seems to be extended to Christians in the Middle East,” he said. “But the fact is that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Mr. Doran said that “blind spot” was evident in the reaction to Mr. Trump’s executive order, which temporarily suspended refugee flows until proper security measures could be implemented, but made exceptions for religious minorities who are persecuted.“Whether someone is Muslim, Yazidi, Jewish, Christian or atheist, they should be given priority if they’re facing persecution, and certainly that would be so where there’s a finding of genocide,”

“Whether someone is Muslim, Yazidi, Jewish, Christian or atheist, they should be given priority if they’re facing persecution, and certainly that would be so where there’s a finding of genocide,” Mr. Doran said.

But Larry T. Decker, executive director of the Secular Coalition, said the policy is tantamount to a “religious test” for entry to the country.

“President Trump’s executive order must be recognized as the establishment of a religious test that is incompatible with our Constitution and our values as Americans,” Mr. Decker said in a statement. “The Trump campaign repeatedly denigrated Muslims and pledged to enact policies that discriminated against them. Now, at the expense of our First Amendment and our nation’s credibility, the Trump administration is attempting to make good on this campaign promise.”

Polls support the notion that some segments of the West are ignorant of the persecution faced by Christians around the world.

A Rasmussen survey published Tuesday showed that the majority of Democrats believe Muslims in the United States are mistreated because of their faith, but fewer were willing to say the same for Christians in the Islamic world.

While 56 percent of Democrats said Muslims in America are mistreated because of their faith, that number fell to 47 percent for Christians living in Islamic nations. Sixty-two percent of Americans overall, and 76 percent of Republicans, said Christians are persecuted in countries where Islam is the dominant religion.

Last year, former Secretary of State John F. Kerry declared that Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East are victims of genocide carried out by the Islamic State.

But advocates had been calling for that recognition for years, Mr. Doran said, and the Obama administration failed to take any additional steps to alleviate the plight of Christians.

More than 19,000 refugees from Syria were admitted to the United States during Mr. Obama’s tenure, but less than one-half of 1 percent of them were Christians.

Mr. Trump has said the United States will do more to alleviate the suffering of Christians in the Middle East.

“They’ve been horribly treated,” Mr. Trump said last month in an interview. “Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria, it was impossible, at least very tough, to get into the United States? 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, everybody was persecuted in all fairness, but they were chopping off the heads of everybody, but more so the Christians. And I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them.”

Mr. Doran said the president’s call for the establishment of safe zones in Syria and Yemen is an “excellent idea” and that they also should be considered in Iraq.

“If he succeeds in creating safe zones, that will have be a substantial step toward bringing the Syrian conflict to a conclusion, putting pressure on the Assad regime to cease hostilities and come to the negotiating table,” Mr. Doran said. “I think these are actually very positive steps.”

He said Mr. Trump’s early actions to protect the victims of persecution and bring the Syrian refugee crisis to an end represent a seismic shift from his predecessor’s policy.

“I think the case could be made that Donald Trump did more in one afternoon than President Obama did over the last six years.”

 

Raymond Ibrahim: How Trump Can Help Persecuted Christians and Protect Americans with One Move

February 6, 2017

Raymond Ibrahim: How Trump Can Help Persecuted Christians and Protect Americans with One Move, Jihad Watch

copts-in-ruined-church

During a recent interview on CBN, President Trump was asked if he thinks America should prioritize persecuted Christians as refugees. He responded:

Yes.  Yes, they’ve been horribly treated.  If you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, or at least very, very tough, to get into the United States.  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 — everybody was persecuted, in all fairness — but they were chopping off the heads of everybody but more so the Christians. And I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them.

 Trump’s response is far different from that given by Barrack Hussein Obama back in November 2015. Then, as president, he described the idea of giving preference to Christian refugees as “shameful”: “That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion,” he had added.

While Obama was making such lofty admonishments, his administration was quietly discriminating against Mideast Christians in a myriad of ways — including, as Trump pointed out above, by very obviously favoring Muslim refugees over Christian ones. Indeed, despite the U.S. government’s own acknowledgement that ISIS was committing genocide against Syrian Christians — and not against fellow Sunni Muslims — the Obama administration took in 5,435 Muslims, almost all of whom were Sunni, but only 28 Christians. Considering that Christians are 10 percent of Syria’s population, to be merely on an equal ratio with Muslims entering America, at least 500 Christians should’ve been granted asylum, not 28.

But questions of equal numbers aside, the idea of prioritizing Christian refugees over Muslims (which I argued for back in 2015) is not only more humane; it brings benefits to America as well.

Consider:

Unlike Muslims, Christian minorities are being singled out and persecuted simply because of their despised religious identity. From a humanitarian point of view — and humanitarianism is the reason being cited for accepting millions of refugees — Christians should receive top priority simply because they are the most persecuted group in the Middle East. Even before the Islamic State was formed, Christians were, and continue to be, targeted by Muslims in general — Muslim individuals, Muslim mobs, and Muslim regimes, from Muslim countries of all races (Arab, African, Asian) — and for the same reason: Christians are infidel number one. (See Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians for hundreds of anecdotes before the rise of ISIS as well as the Muslim doctrines that create such hate for Christians.)

Conversely, Muslim refugees — as opposed to the many ISIS and other jihadi sympathizers posing as “refugees” — are not fleeing religious persecution (as mentioned, 99% of Muslim refugees accepted into the U.S. are, like ISIS, Sunnis), but chaos created by the violent and supremacist teachings of their own religion. Hence why when large numbers of Muslims enter Western nations — in Germany, Sweden, France, the UK — tension, crimes, rapes, and terrorism soar.

Indeed, what more proof is needed than the fact that so-called Muslim “refugees” are throwing Christians overboard during their boat voyages across the Mediterranean to Europe? Or that Muslim majority refugee centers in Europe are essentially microcosms of Muslim majority nations: there, Christian minorities continue to be persecuted. One report found that 88% of the 231 Christian refugees interviewed in Germany have suffered religiously motivated persecution in the form of insults, death threats, and sexual assaults. Some were pressured to convert to Islam. “I really didn’t know that after coming to Germany I would be harassed because of my faith in the very same way as back in Iran,” one Christian refugee said.

Is persecuting religious minorities the behavior of people who are in need of refugee status in America? Or is this behavior yet another reminder that it is non-Muslims from the Middle East who are truly in need of sanctuary?

The U.S. should further prioritize Christian refugees because U.S. foreign policies are directly responsible for exacerbating their persecution. Christians did not flee from Bashar Assad’s Syria, or Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, or Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya. Their systematic persecution—to the point of genocide — began only after the U.S. interfered in those nations under the pretext of “democracy.” All that these policies did is unleash the jihadi forces that the dictators had long kept suppressed. Now the Islamic State is deeply embedded in precisely all three nations, enslaving, raping, and slaughtering Christians and other minorities.

Surely if U.S. policies were responsible for unleashing the full-blown jihad on Christians, the least humanitarian America can do is prioritize Christians as refugees? In fact, and as Trump pointed out during his CBN interview, it’s the opposite: according to one report, from May 1 to May 23 alone, 499 Syrian refugees were received into the U.S, 99% of them Sunnis. Zero Christians were admitted.

Questions of fairness and humanitarianism aside, there are also benefits in absorbing Mideast Christians refugees instead of Muslims. Christians are easily assimilated in Western societies, due to the shared Christian heritage and outlook, and regularly become productive members of society. Muslims follow a completely different blueprint, Islamic law, or Sharia — which calls for constant hostility (jihad) against all non-Muslims, and advocates any number of distinctly anti-Western practices (misogyny, sex slavery, death for “blasphemers” and “apostates,” etc.). Hence it’s no surprise that many Muslim asylum seekers are anti-Western at heart — or, as a German police union chief once said, Muslim migrants “despise our country and laugh at our justice.”

Mideast Christians also bring trustworthy language and cultural skills. They understand the Middle Eastern — including Islamic — mindset and can help the U.S. understand it. And unlike Muslims, Christians have no “conflicting loyalty” issues: Islamic law forbids Muslims from befriending or aiding “infidels” against fellow Muslims (click here to see some of the treachery this leads to in the U.S. and here to see the treachery Christians have suffered from their longtime Muslim neighbors and “friends”). No such threat exists among Mideast Christians. They, too, render unto God what is God’s and unto Caesar what is Caesar’s — not to mention they have no loyalty to the Islamic ideologies that made their lives a living hell in the Middle East, the Islamic ideologies that are also responsible for jihadi terror in America. Thus a win-win: the U.S. and Mideast Christians complement each other, if only in that they share the same foe.

All the above reasons — from those that offer humanitarian relief to the true victims of persecution and genocide, to those that offer stability and benefits to the United States — are unassailable in their logic.

President Trump understands this — even if most liberals and lying media don’t.