The Weekly Round-Up
The Weekly Round-Up
This week are asking the question: Where are the refugees?
The civil war in Syria is still raging. ISIS may be on it’s heels but millions of Syrian people are still suffering the harsh realities of war. U.S. President Trump declared that refugees represent a threat to everyday Americans and posited that a better solution would be to create “safe zones” in the Middle East in lieu of resettling them in the U.S. But that leaves us with several questions: If President Trump wont allow them in the U.S. but he hasn’t yet created any safe zones either, where are they? Has the U.S. and other western countries left millions of families to fend for themselves? And secondly, what is the U.S. foreign policy on refugees? Could momentum be developed for the creation of safe zones where vulnerable women and children can be protected?
President Trump declared “Mission Accomplished” after the Syrian bombing campaign orchestrated with France and the UK. Sources differ on the impact and success of the bombing campaign, but it was ostensibly done to punish the Syrian regime for harming its own people with chemical weapons. Ironically, the Trump administration’s policy toward welcoming refugees does not reflect the same level of compassion for the Syrian people as the bombing did, as only 11 Syrian refugees have been accepted into the country this year.
Before the Syrian bombing campaign, more than 100 evangelical figures signed a letter urging President Trump to reverse the moratorium on resettling refugees from certain countries. The letter ran as a full page ad in the Washington Post, and included conservative voices such as Tim Keller, Max Lucado and Matt Chandler, using Biblical principles and faith-based reasoning to bring about change.
During a speech in Lima Peru, Vice President Pence spoke about a woman he met who was experiencing extreme poverty after she fled her home in Venezuela with her children. While he asked the crowd to pray for the woman, his policies toward refugees have not differed from the President’s who has capped the number of refugees to be resettled in the United States at 45,000, which is the lowest total since 1980.
Many refugees across the world are actually Christian minorities in their home countries. Around 100 Iranian refugees, many of whom are part of the Christian minority there, remain stranded in Austria after the U.S. enacted its refugee ban for certain majority Muslim countries, like Iran. The refugees can’t return to Iran because of the danger to their lives, but remain in resettlement limbo despite U.S. government’s promise to protect persecuted religious groups like them.