Christian aid groups in despair over Trump’s refugee stance

Friday January 27, 2017 Written by Published in Church Talk

DESPITE previous plans to admit the highest number of refugees in decades, the United States would be shutting its doors to thousands displaced by conflict in the Middle East, at least temporarily, under an executive order US president Donald Trump is expected to sign this week.

 

Christian aid groups responsible for resettlement mourned and criticised  the impending decision to stop accepting any refugees into the United States for the next four months. A circulating draft of the order puts an indefinite ban on refugees coming from Syria and a month-long pause on anyone entering America from a handful of Muslim-majority nations.

“Our concern is that this action really does further traumatize a group of people that have already borne so much tragedy,” said Scott Arbeiter, president of World Relief, one of nine agencies that partner with the federal government to resettle refugees. “The human toll is really crushing.”

World Relief, the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), took on about 11,000 cases last year - a record high since 1999, and had almost 1,200 churches volunteer to help.

The United States had been on track to meet the Obama administration’s goal of resettling 110,000 refugees in fiscal year 2017 - the highest goal since 1995, the Pew Research Center reported.

Trump’s administration is expected to halve that goal to 50,000.

The circulating draft of the executive order, part of Trump’s campaign promise to crackdown on immigration, indicates that seven Muslim-majority countries will be targeted: Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Iran, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen.

Syria, where ISIS violence has displaced more than a million residents, was the No. 2 country of origin among the nearly 85,000 refugees the United States admitted last year. Syrians comprised 15 percent of refugees in the 2016 fiscal year, according to Pew. Iraq (12 per cent), Somalia (11 per cent), and Iran (4 per cent) also made the top 10 list.

The Trump administration cites security concerns for the policy changes. A draft of the order published by The New York Times reads: “In order to protect Americans, we must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward our country and its founding principles.”

Advocates for refugees point out that the massive and chaotic flow of refugees into Europe doesn’t compare to the smaller and more rigorous process in the United States, where government agencies vet candidates before approval.

“Most refugees from the Middle East are women and children who have suffered the assaults of ISIS terrorists and civil war,” said NAE president Leith Anderson, in a statement opposing Trump’s impending order.

“We have the opportunity to rescue, help, and bless some of the world’s most oppressed and vulnerable families.”

Based on World Relief’s 40 years of experience with resettling refugees, Arbeiter encouraged American Christians to not let self-protection prevent them from assisting the vulnerable.

“The question for the American Christian is: Will we speak out on behalf of those who are running from the very terror that we are rightly trying to put an end to?” he asked. “People who are running from Mosul and Aleppo and a thousand other places on fire?

“Would we be willing to accept giving up a 1 in 3 billion chance of our safety in order to make room for them?” he said.

“Or would we say, ‘I am not willing to give up even the smallest fraction of my safety to welcome people who have been vetted very carefully, who have been proven as a remarkable population of people. Will I not make room for them?

            - Christianity Today

2 comments

  • Comment Link Proud Cookie Tuesday, 31 January 2017 18:26 posted by Proud Cookie

    Perhaps you need to check out the facts first? How do you become educated people if no one knows for sure who their enemies are? Do people even know what Islam's true purpose and why? If none of you know then you are in for a rude awakening. A little education and you will reconsider about opening your borders? If you are going to use "Love thy enemy as thy self" card then you are more stubborn then the West who are experiencing Hell on earth? There is a reason why muslims are truly indoctrinated by their holy book and the fact is, they will never adapt to the West they live by Sharia Law. Tell me why United Arab Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the UAE did not take any refugees at least more than a year? Why is that war in Syria not the middle east's problem? They have plenty of land and riches to support the refugees. Another to consider, is why you think the Prince of Saudi Arabia scoffed at Trump with such hatred?

    The people of America voted for Trump and at least 50-70% were Christians. Now the rebellious protestors are just ridiculous and embarrassing themselves?

    (Revelation 7:3) and the other evil “the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.” (Revelation 13:17).
    It can not get any clearer that Islam is the mark of the beast. They will infest through out the West and slowly creep in any national borders.

    I am just ordinary person but being born again makes me feel special by GOD's grace, simply because I do cherish the word of GOD and Christians are use to wisdom and more praying. Three years ago I saw it clearly there were going to be issues if they take in these refugees, and fair enough we are witnessing the disaster a lot more today.

    If the Cook Islands ever ever open their borders to refugees or asylum seekers one day, then that will be the end of a beautiful paradise.

    GOD bless the Cook Islands!

  • Comment Link David Lewis Monday, 30 January 2017 19:06 posted by David Lewis

    A wise and sensible voice.

    David Lewis

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