The struggles of world refugees

World powers and refugee resettlement

In the past three years, world conflicts and wars have uprooted tens of millions of people from their homes and home countries. Today Christians are the most persecuted people all around the world. Open Doors USA lists fifty countries where it is dangerous or at least very difficult to be a Christian. Endless crowds of Muslim migrants have made their way to the European countries, and many also to the US. Where are the Christian refugees?

When it comes to the refugee admission to the US, the UN is the key. As an official migrant resettlement, the US relies on the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) to vet potential immigrants from countries such as Syria, Somalia, Congo and Iraq. The UNHCR accepts applications for resettlement primarily from people who reside in its refugee camps. Generally, religious minorities like Christians and Yazidis avoid UN camps because UN officials do not protect them from Jihadist groups who terrorize them in those camps.

Antonio Guterres (UN Secretary General) opposes the resettlement of persecuted Christians from Syria. He does not want Christians to leave Syria because they are part of the “DNA of the Middle East.” Others such as Lebanon’s former president has appealed to Guterres not to resettle the Christians. In 2016, the number of documented refugees from Syria to the US increased 675%. However, among the 12,587 Syrian refugees admitted, there were only 77 Christians (0.5%)  The majority, about 99% were Muslims. Out of all refugees admitted in 2016, there were 46% Muslims and 44% Christians.

In the Syrian civil war since 2011, hundreds of thousands of Christians have been displaced, left the country or been killed. Large numbers of orphans are in critical need of care. Israel is now accepting 100 child orphans from Syria ─dispite the fact that technically Syria and Israel are at war.

The US has resettled most of the world’s refugees, about 70% in total. Since 2002, over 3.0 million refugees have been admitted to the US. The current temporary ban of entry to the US of nationals from seven Mideast and African countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) is based on the 1952 law, Immigration and Nationality Act. Previous presidents have used liberally the same law: Barak Obama (19), Bill Clinton (12), George W. Bush (6) and Ronald Regan (5) times.

Refugees of the mentioned countries have choices when they seek resettlement. Actually, there are total of 57 Muslim countries. So far these countries have not accepted any of the current refugees─not even from Syria, claiming the danger of Islamic terrorism!

When the Jewish people tried to escape Europe before and during WW2, they had very few choices. Palestine was the only possible choice when the US also had closed its doors. In the same time, Holocaust survivors who attempted to reach Palestine were turned back by England to Germany and shiploads of survivors were placed in 12 internment camps in Cyprus.

(References: Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, Pew Research Center, Christian News Service, Open Doors USA and other on-line news sites.)