Haven Forbid? U.S. Debates Refugee Crisis

Barb Wire

If President Obama thinks a religious test is shameful for refugees, then he has a lot to be ashamed of. His own administration has been discriminating at an amazingly fast clip over the past two months — and against the population posing the smallest threat to American safety: Christians.

After its jaw-dropping findings earlier this week, CNSNews also crunched the numbers from the last month and a half and found the same disgraceful pattern of prejudice. Of the Syrians granted asylum in the U.S. since October, only five were Christians. The other 346 were Sunni Muslims (which, for those of you keeping score at home, is 98.6%). If that isn’t a “religious test,” I don’t know what is. And the tragedy is this: not only do Christian refugees pose the least risk to American society, but they’re also the ones in the direst need of help.

“While there is no question that ISIS will kill and persecute Muslims whom it regards as apostates for refusing to adhere to its construction of Islam,” writes Andrew McCarthy at NRO, “it is abject idiocy to suggest that Muslims are facing the same ubiquity and intensity of persecution as Christians. And it is downright dishonest to claim that taking such religious distinctions into account is ‘not American,’ let alone ‘shameful.’ How can something American law requires be un-American?”

Instead, the president is stubbornly sticking to his plan to flood the U.S. with 10,000 more Syrians against the advice of his own intelligence officials, who rightly think America lacks the vetting system necessary to protect itself. “… [W]e can query our database until the cows come home, but [nothing will] show up because we have no record of them,” said FBI Director James Comey. Even Attorney General Loretta Lynch, when pressed, admitted there were challenges. Radical Islamists are already gaming the refugee system, slipping into lines they know aren’t — and can’t be — appropriately scrutinized.

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Just yesterday, Turkey arrested eight ISIS associates posing as Syrian refugees — more evidence of the dangerous strategy already underway. As I pointed out yesterday on “Washington Watch,” the president taunted Republican leaders for being afraid to help widows and orphans just hours before a female jihadist blew herself up in a second Paris attack. The same administration that suggested a jobs program for terrorists seems to think that jihadists will step through customs and leave their radicalism behind.

Twenty-eight governors and the American people aren’t so convinced. With increasing solidarity, state leaders and the public are demanding the president back off his Syrian resettlement plan. According to Bloomberg polling, only a sliver of Americans — 28 percent — agree with the White House. Like us, they don’t think we should bet national security on the president’s flimsy assurances. “The administration has a calming public storyline that we have this all under control,” said one anonymous FBI official, “but we’re one crack in the sidewalk away from a tragedy.”

Who would you trust: The man who called ISIS “junior varsity” or the experts warning that the government is ill-equipped to screen people? Congress’s answer is fairly simple. Sensing the urgency, GOP leaders are racing to put measures in place that protect our communities from gut-wrenching scenes like Paris’s. Under a new bill from Reps. Mike McCaul (R-Texas) and Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) that passed the House earlier today, the FBI and Director of National Intelligence would have to sign off on every application, certifying that the refugees aren’t a security request.

Sounds reasonable, right? Not to the president’s team. Too “cumbersome” complained Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. “Unnecessary and impractical” grumbled the Office of Management and Budget. “Untenable” argued the White House. “People understand the plight of those fleeing the Middle East,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) countered. “But they also want basic assurances for the safety of this country. We can be compassionate, and we can also be safe.”

That’s a message the church is increasingly in need of. In a rush of goodwill, Christians are anxious to reach out and help those in need. Obviously, those are good intentions — loving the sojourner, as Deuteronomy talks about — but they aren’t the only consideration. There’s this false narrative, one that the president has encouraged, that insists there are only two options in the refugee crisis: give Syrians unfettered access to America or leave orphans and widows dying in the street.

That’s just not true. There are several ways to help the hurting that leave our nation less vulnerable to attack. We could provide humanitarian support directly to displaced people currently in refugee camps in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and elsewhere. We could also help the government of Kurdistan care for those who are displaced by providing financial and/or other resources for the current camps — and ensure more are built if needed. And what’s more compassionate than taking military action to defeat ISIS? Most people want to stay in their homelands of Iraq and Syria, but they’re unable to because ISIS has been allowed to grow. It’s not unfeeling to help in these ways, but it iswise.

“Is it unChristian to not want radical jihadists shooting people in our communities?” Kevin DeYoung asked. “…The answer is not as easy as fear versus compassion. Christian charity means loving the safety of the neighbor next door at least as much as loving the safe passage of the neighbor far away.”

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. (Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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