Report Finds There Has Been a 90 Percent Reduction in Number of Christian Refugees Being Resettled in U.S. Since 2015

Displaced Iraqi children are seen at the Amriyat al Fallujah camp in Anbar Province, Iraq January 3, 2018. | REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily

There’s been a nearly 90% reduction in the number of Christian refugees being resettled to the United States from countries where churches face the greatest persecution since 2015, according to two leading evangelical humanitarian organizations. 

Open Doors USA, a watchdog group that monitors the persecution of Christians in over 60 countries, teamed up with the refugee resettlement agency World Relief, the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals, to release a new report Friday.

The 16-page report,  titled “Closed Doors,” is critical of policies that have drastically reduced refugee resettlement to the U.S. in recent years and others that have made it increasingly difficult for persecuted individuals and families to seek asylum.

“There have been many recent changes regarding refugee resettlement and asylum law that has effectively shut the door on many of the refugees from being able to access protection in the United States of America,” World Relief Vice President of Advocacy and Policy Jenny Yang told reporters on a press call Friday.

“As organizations that are working to help those that are fleeing religious persecution, particularly Christians, we feel like it is of the utmost importance that the … U.S. keeps its doors open.”

The report includes testimonies from persecuted Christians as well as data comparing the numbers of refugees resettled during the final years of the Obama administration to the drastically decreased numbers resettled under President Donald Trump.

The 16-page report,  titled “Closed Doors,” is critical of policies that have drastically reduced refugee resettlement to the U.S. in recent years and others that have made it increasingly difficult for persecuted individuals and families to seek asylum.

“There have been many recent changes regarding refugee resettlement and asylum law that has effectively shut the door on many of the refugees from being able to access protection in the United States of America,” World Relief Vice President of Advocacy and Policy Jenny Yang told reporters on a press call Friday.

“As organizations that are working to help those that are fleeing religious persecution, particularly Christians, we feel like it is of the utmost importance that the … U.S. keeps its doors open.”

The report includes testimonies from persecuted Christians as well as data comparing the numbers of refugees resettled during the final years of the Obama administration to the drastically decreased numbers resettled under President Donald Trump.

The report finds that 18,462 Christians from countries listed on Open Doors USA’s influential annual list of 50 worst countries where Christians face persecution were resettled to the U.S. in 2015 and 17,122 Christians from those countries were resettled in 2016, the final two years under Obama.

By comparison, only 946 Christians from those countries on the Open Doors World Watch List were resettled in the first half of the fiscal year 2020. The report estimates that if projections remain steady, only 1,897 Christians from those 50 countries will be resettled by the end of the fiscal year 2020, which represents a reduction of 89.7% from 2015.

All data is reported from the U.S. State Department’s Refugee Processing Center (www.wrapsnet.org) as of July 1, 2020. | Open Doors/World Relief

The purpose of the report, organizers said, is to stress how policy changes enacted by the Trump administration since 2017 — including the cutting of the U.S. refugee resettlement ceiling — have impacted persecuted Christians abroad. The report was not published to suggest that Christians should be prioritized over refugees of other religious backgrounds.

“We do unabashedly believe, however, immigration and asylum policies must be addressed in order to protect those who, because of persecution on account of their faith in Christ, have been forced to flee their countries,” the report stresses. “Scripture teaches us that the global Church is a single body, and that when one part suffers, we all are to suffer with it (1 Corinthians 12:26).”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith