According to a new report from NBC News, the number of Christian refugees permitted to come to the U.S. in the last fiscal year has fallen dramatically.
Since President Trump took office, the number of refugees allowed into the country has fallen across the board, but the number of Christians falling is particularly notable because Trump specifically said helping religious minorities in the Middle East was a major priority.
Last summer, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said: “ISIS is clearly responsible for genocide against Yazidis, Christians and Shia Muslims in areas it controlled. ISIS is also responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same groups, and in some cases against Sunni Muslims, Kurds and other minorities. The protection of these groups—and others who are targets of violent extremism—remains a human-rights priority for the Trump administration.”
However, despite that promise—and acknowledging that these groups face a genocide—the number of Christian refugees has fallen more than 40 percent. That’s a drop of 11,000 refugees.
With Trump’s crackdown on immigration, many Christian refugees remain in a sort of legal limbo oversees, especially ones from countries his administration has deemed dangerous.
Mary Giovagnoli of Refugees Council USA explained to NBC News: “Ironically, these policies, while clearly aimed at Muslim refugees, ensure that Christians and other religious minorities from many of the countries on Trump’s list of suspect travel ban nations are also kept out. It suggests that the president has no real interest in religious persecution or the tenets of religious freedom.”
Christians in countries like Iran face widespread persecution. Some Christians in the report told stories of selling their possessions with the expectation of being accepted into the U.S., only to be denied under the Trump administration.
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