A recent executive order signed by President Donald J. Trump, which temporarily bans refugees and individuals from several predominantly Muslim countries, is causing a massive controversy among many Americans—and many Christians.
Here’s a look at six key facts about the order, the refugee resettlement program and what leaders are saying.
Most Resettlements Are Cases of ‘Family Reunification.’
As several Christian organizations point out—including one actually approved by the State Department to be a part of the resettlement program—most refugees who come to the U.S. are here to be reunited or connected with family members already in the U.S.
The Current Vetting Process Is Already ‘Extreme.’
After signing the executive order, President Trump said that new “extreme” vetting measures would be put into place. And thought the president didn’t outline how the current vetting process would be improved, this infographic, which shows the multiple international and federal agencies involved, shows just how intensive the vetting process already is.
In fact, it can take up to three years.
More Christian Refugees Have Been Resettled Than Muslims in Recent Years.
From Pew: “During the past 15 years, the U.S. has admitted 399,677 Christian refugees and 279,339 Muslim refugees, meaning that 46 percent of all refugees who have entered the U.S. during this time have been Christian while 32 percent have been Muslim.”
Trump wants to give “priority” to non-Muslims, despite the fact that more Christians than Muslims have been resettled since 9/11: The executive order says it will “prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.” (Most of the countries are predominantly Muslim.)
We stand for a need-based resettlement approach that treats all faiths equally … We must not allow fear to blind us to the suffering of those belonging to a faith different from ours. Instead, our faith should compel us to be the first to speak out for the oppressed and displaced among us—regardless of their religion or the country they come from.
Refugees Are Not Dangerous.
The Boston Bombers were not refugees, nor were the terrorists responsible for the Orlando and San Bernardino shootings.
The Home Country of the 9/11 Attackers Is Not Included in the Ban.
The executive order says the following:
The visa-issuance process plays a crucial role in detecting individuals with terrorist ties and stopping them from entering the United States. Perhaps in no instance was that more apparent than the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when State Department policy prevented consular officers from properly scrutinizing the visa applications of several of the 19 foreign nationals who went on to murder nearly 3,000 Americans.
It then goes on to announce a visa ban for the following countries for 90 days: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Not included is Saudi Arabia, where 15 of the 19 9/11 attackers are from.
The seven countries instead were ones previously identified as “countries of concern” during the implementation of processes that required individuals who’d visited them to apply for travel visas.
Objecting to the Executive Order Is Not a Partisan Issue.
Despite how it is being painted by some, opposition to the executive order is not a partisan issue, with leaders on both sides of the spectrum speaking out against it.
In 2015, Vice President Mike Pence even spoke out against a Muslim ban.
The House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul—a Republican—said the order has led to “confusion and uncertainty,” and criticized Trump for not including Republican leadership in the decision: “In the future, such policy changes should be better coordinated with the agencies implementing them and with Congress to ensure we get it right—and don’t undermine our nation’s credibility while trying to restore it.”
Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham said,
President Trump’s executive order was not properly vetted. We are particularly concerned by reports that this order went into effect with little to no consultation with the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security … Ultimately, we fear this executive order will become a self-inflicted wound in the fight against terrorism.
Jesse Carey is a mainstay on the weekly RELEVANT Podcast and member of RELEVANT's executive board. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two kids.