This past year the number of Syrian refugees brought to the United States dropped dramatically. In 2018, the United States has only allowed a grand total of 11 refugees to enter, a substantial decrease from the 790 who entered during the same time frame last year.
And while many are likely please by the initiative to reduce the flow of refugees and crack down on vetting, others are outraged.
In the wake of the news, several Christian humanitarian groups are speaking out against the decrease in number.
Carmen Fowler LaBerge, a Christian talk radio host and writer took to Twitter to show her disappointment with the decrease in numbers.
“Wow. We are the wealthiest nation in all of human history. We are also a nation with access to information about the atrocities happening [to] people not unlike us in #Syria. How can it be that we have taken in only 11 Syrian refugees this year?”
Wow. We are the wealthiest nation in all of human history. We are also a nation with access to information about the atrocities happening two people not unlike us in #Syria. How can it be that we have taken in only 11 Syrian refugees this year? https://t.co/2wqM0kWedt
— Carmen FowlerLaBerge (@carmenlaberge) April 16, 2018
LaBerge added a photo from Fox News, that displayed the decrease in numbers, released by the State Department. The numbers revealed that in 2016, a total of 15,479 Syrian refugees came to America.
During President Trump’s first year of office, 2017, the number dropped dramatically to 3,024. Now, several months into 2018, only 11 refugees from Syria have been allowed to enter the United States.
Bill O’Keefe, vice president for government relations and advocacy for Catholic Relief Services, also voiced his concern, calling the drop in numbers “extremely concerning.”
“Millions of Syrians remain displaced, caught in a web of violence and proxy wars,” O’Keefe continued.
“The United States has traditionally taken the most vulnerable refugees, including Syrians, who have suffered terrible trauma or would be unable to go home. These refugees are the neighbors Jesus told us to love in the Gospel. We can safely welcome thousands of these women, men, and children to our country,” he added.
Edward Clancy, who is the director of outreach for Aid to the Church in Need, USA, said that Christian refugees especially have had a difficult time getting into the United States.
“The number of Christian refugees has been very low compared to their representation in the population, so we’re speaking out on behalf of Christians with no voice in the Middle East … we’ve made it part of our mandate to support the Christian community in the Middle East in these areas of refugees, food shelter, pastoral care, whatever is needed,” Clancy explained.
World Relief, an evangelical aid group for refugees around the world, have warned of Trump’s immigration actions multiple times. They state that his proclamations against immigration from the Middle East have caused “a wave of anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies.”
On Friday, Emily Gray, the SVP of U.S. Ministries for World Relief, discussed the issue in a blog post:
Emily continued by giving good news. She cited that despite the current administration’s orders, World Relief has still been able to assist refugees, directly helping 31,900 people, as well as another 48,900 beneficiaries, which can include family members and congregants, or community members.
Bill Canny, executive director for Migration and Refugee Services for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, stated that the cap for refugees entering the United States is nowhere near where it needs to be. Canny said it is impossible to help the crisis if we do not increase numbers. The United States currently has a 45,000 cap on refugees.
“While we respect safety concerns and we know it’s the government’s right to keep us safe, we don’t think the refugee program is an avenue of danger to our citizens, due to the extensive security checks that have been done for a number of years,” Canny said.
“Certainly it’s a core responsibility of our faith, from exhortations in the Old Testament to welcome the stranger, to make sure that one cares for newcomers, and of course from the New Testament and the teachings of Christ,” he argued.
Haley stated that most refugees do not want to be resettled in America, and that they want to go back to their homes. She has spoken personally with refugees from Jordan and Turkey, who voiced these opinions.
“From a humanitarian standpoint, the United States has been a massive donor to this situation, but also when I talked to the refugees, what I talked to them about, they want to go home. And there is a mountain that they look over and know it is on the other side and [they] know that Syria is in shambles and they are prepared to rebuild it,” Haley said.
“But not one of the many that I talked to ever said ‘we want to go to America.’ They want to stay as close to Syria as they can so that when, God willing, this fighting stops, and when there is finally stability and peace in that area, they want to go rejoin their family members. They [want to] go back to what they remember,” she added.