Eric Costanzo on Christians, Don’t Forget About the World’s Refugees

Rohingya refugees in Burma in this undated photo. | (Photo: U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom)

With so much focus being given to the crisis on our southern border, it would be easy to forget about an equally pressing and critical humanitarian crisis: the world’s refugees. Key decisions loom near that could curb U.S. refugee resettlement or even eliminate it altogether. If we as Christians truly claim to stand united as defenders of the sanctity of all human life as ordained by God, we must be paying attention. Right now, significantly vulnerable lives are at stake.

The UNHCR estimates some 71 million people are forcibly displaced around the world. This is the largest humanitarian crisis the world has ever seen. If no one intervenes on their behalf, the vast majority will remain displaced in or around their countries for ten years or more. Historically, the United States has stepped in to welcome these vulnerable populations, but things are changing in detrimental ways.

When the “travel ban” was announced in 2017, promises were made that we would continue resettlement with a shift in focus towards persecuted Christians and others in the most desperate situations. Instead, we have dismantled many parts of the program and reduced the total number of refugees resettled each year from 85,000 in fiscal year (FY) 2016 to less than 30,000 in FY 2019. Now the White House is considering reducing resettlement again to numbers even lower than 2002, the year after 9/11.

If this happens, many people in the most desperate situations who would add great benefit to our nation will continue to languish in dreadful conditions. Threats to national and global security will increase because of prolonged exposure to extremism. As the rest of the world watches us, other developed countries will follow our lead and global refugee admissions will drop, as occurred after our reductions in 2017.

God’s love for the immigrant, refugee, and foreigner is a consistent biblical theme, and he calls his people to do the same. Jesus Christ himself, the greatest example of love, implores us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves, regardless of race, nationality, religion, or status. In July, evangelical leaders and pastors sent a letter to the White House stating, “Recognizing God’s love for the vulnerable and the persecuted, we are concerned for all who have fled persecution and who urgently need protection. And we are particularly concerned about the potential impact of your decision on fellow believers who are being persecuted for their faith.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Eric Costanzo