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2020-07-12 09:42:49 Views : 428 |

News: Christian groups say Trump has closed the door on persecuted Christian refugees



Catholic Church personnel greet guests after Mass at St. Peters Chaldean Catholic Church in El Cajon, California on May 13, 2009. Iraqi Chaldeans have sought asylum in the U.S. to avoid threats from extremist groups in Iraq.Sandy Huffaker / Corbis via Getty Images file


Ishtartv.com - nbcnews.com

By Dan De Luce, July 11, 2020

 

WASHINGTON — Despite public statements promoting religious freedom, the Trump administration has failed to provide a lifeline to persecuted Christian refugees and other religious minorities around the world, according to a report by two Christian advocacy groups.

The number of Christian refugees and other religious minorities allowed to enter the U.S. has dropped dramatically under President Donald Trump, according to the report by World Relief, a Christian humanitarian organization, and Open Doors USA, a non-profit that tracks religious freedom.

“With religious persecution of Christians at some of the highest levels ever reported, closing the door to refugees and asylum seekers threatens the lives of Christians — and American Christians must not remain silent,” said the report, titled “Closed Doors.”

In 2019, the number of Christians resettled to the U.S. from a list of 50 countries known for persecuting Christians declined 69 percent compared to 2015, according to the report, which was based on State Department refugee figures.

Six months into 2020, fewer than 950 Christians have been resettled from these 50 countries, compared to more than 18,000 in 2015, the report said. If current trends continue, the U.S. will admit roughly 90 percent fewer Christian refugees from these countries this year than in 2015.

The Trump administration has drastically cut back overall refugee admissions to unprecedented levels, but the COVID-19 pandemic has further restricted the flow. Refugee admissions were temporarily halted in March as the administration cited public health concerns. The suspension remains in place.

A State Department spokesperson said the Trump administration “is prioritizing those who have been persecuted for their religious beliefs in line with our commitment to advance religious freedom internationally, including the protection of religious groups.”

The administration is also providing humanitarian aid to help those displaced by war and natural disasters, the spokesperson said, adding, “In Fiscal Year 2019, the United States contributed more than $9.5 billion to supporting crisis response globally, the most of any country in the world.”

Out of a maximum of 18,000 refugee admissions permitted this fiscal year, the administration specifically allocated 5,000 spots for applicants suffering religious persecution. As of June 30, the United States has admitted 3,564 refugees who have suffered religious persecution, according to State Department data.

The authors of the report cited examples of declining numbers for particularly vulnerable Christian communities. The United States has resettled 336 Christians from Myanmar in the first half of 2020. In 2015, more than 11,000 Christians from Myanmar were admitted to the U.S.

Only 43 Iraqi Christians have been resettled to the U.S. so far this year, compared to about 1,500 in 2015 and 2,000 in 2016, according to Tim Breene, CEO of World Relief.

“We do believe the U.S. can and should do more,” Breene told a teleconference.

 

 






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