Dan Gilmore / Dec. 9, 2015

The Syrian Refugee Religious Test

Out of 237 Syrian refugees, just one Christian was admitted.

If the Syrian refugees the Obama administration is accepting into the United States really are the most needy — the ones most at risk at being caught in the crossfire of the Syrian civil war — then why has the U.S. government only accepted one Christian refugee? A total of 237 Syrian refugees entered the country since Nov. 13, the day the Islamic State struck Paris. But only one Greek Orthodox individual landed on our shores, despite U.S. law requiring that asylum seekers be asked about the role religion played in persecution. Remember: Christians are fleeing the Middle East after their churches are targeted and razed — and it’s not just the Islamic State carrying out the atrocities. The Obama administration, however, continues to refuse to consider religion with any of its Middle East dealings. In August, Immigration and Customs Enforcement was preparing to deport 27 Christians who were seeking asylum after fleeing the Islamic State.

As a result of the Syrian refugee question, Congress is stepping up its involvement with immigration policy. The House passed, with a 407-19 vote Tuesday, a measure reforming the nation’s Visa Waiver Program. The bill would require travelers holding passports for Western Europe who also traveled to Iraq, Iran, Syria or Sudan in the last five years to get a visa and undergo more scrutiny before entering the states. But there is only so much reform that Congress is willing to do. While there is bipartisan support to reform visas, the very program that accepted a single Christian will probably fall to Barack Obama’s veto pen. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) believes Democrats have enough votes to sustain the Obama administration’s Trojan horse refugee program for Syrians.

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