Trump administration betrays Christian refugees – think tank
Upon becoming President, Donald Trump promised the US would become a safe haven for Christians fleeing war and persecution.
Since then, the number of people from other countries offered refuge from war in the United States has dramatically declined – for Christians as much as for other faith groups.
As a candidate and as president, Trump questioned the vetting process by which refugees are allowed to enter the US but he also specifically promised to allow in more foreign Christians refugees.
The most recent refugee arrival statistics from the US Department of State show the Trump administration has cut Christian refugee arrivals by 64 per cent and Muslim arrival by 93 per cent.
In the final three months of President Barack Obama’s term, his administration took in 25,671 refugees.
In its first three full months, the Trump administration reduced that number to 9,966 refugees.
The US admitted just 33,000 refugees during Trump’s first year in office in 2017, roughly a third of the nearly 97,000 that Obama admitted in 2016 during his last year.
The rate of Christian refugee admissions is 50 per cent lower under President Trump in his first two years than under President Obama’s entire term, and it is 25 per cent the monthly rate under President Bush.
President Trump’s rate of admissions for Muslims is 72 percent lower than Obama’s and 47 per cent lower than Bush.
His rate of admitting people of other faiths was 78 percent and 64 percent lower than Obama and Bush, respectively.
In terms of Christians fleeing the Syrian conflict, President Trump has allowed in 2 per month this year – a 94 per cent drop on the last three months of President Obama’s term.
For Christian refugees from Iraq – who also face persecution from ISIS and other Islamist groups – the numbers have fallen 99 per cent.
Trump was critical of the Obama administration and the United Nations for failing to protect Christians but he has not done anything about it himself. And some observers say he’s made matters worse.
Ironically, some analysts have credited Trump’s surprise electoral win in Michigan in 2016 to Christian voters of Middle Eastern ancestry reacting to his promise to save Christian refugees.
But not only has his administration cut Christian refugee resettlement, it has tried to deport hundreds of Iraqi Christians who have lived for many years in the US without legal status.
One federal judge even accused the administration of impeding the Christians’ attempts to challenge their removals in courts and declaring that they faced “a grisly fate” if deported to Iraq.
The Trump administration seems hostile to Christian refugees for the same reason that it opposes other legal immigrants to the US.
The rhetoric is around taking jobs from Americans, the commission of crime, and welfare abuse.
This is despite data which shows refugees commit crimes at lower rates than Americans, research indicates that refugees contribute fiscally to US and that employed refugees create for existing workers.
US immigration policy expert David Bier, of the Washington-based Cato Institute, says that by cutting refugee arrivals, the Trump administration has betrayed a campaign promise to resettle Christians in the US and it has condemned many to continued poverty, persecution and even death.
“By cutting the refugee program across the board, the Trump administration has not just violated a campaign promise to resettle more Christian refugees—it has condemned many more to desperate poverty, persecution, or death,” Mr Bier said.
“President Trump may not even be aware that his administration has failed to uphold his wishes. If he isn’t, perhaps he can force his bureaucrats to correct course if it comes to his attention. If he is aware, then Christian refugees have another long wait before they can hope for an escape to the land of the free and the home of the brave,” he said.
AMES Australia Senior Journalist