Religious freedom groups sound alarm over decreased refugee resettlement in America

by ian

If you’ve researched religious freedom in the United States recently, you may have seen religious freedom advocacy groups who warned that the U.S. is resettling persecuted Christians at historically low numbers.

A joint report from the CEOs of World Relief and Open Doors US titled “Closed Doors” further elaborates on the issue at hand. The report shows that the United States has been admitting fewer and fewer refugees since at least 2017. The report states:

…recent shifts in U.S. policy reveal that America is no longer the safe haven for displaced persons that it once was. The “golden door” that Emma Lazarus poetically described as the gateway to safety and liberty for those ‘yearning to breathe free’ largely closed shut by 2020, and is only slowly reopening.

The U.S. was once the global leader in refugee resettlement with an average limit of 81,000 per year since the Refugee Act of 1980. Since 2017, however, that number has decreased as the ceiling for accepting refugees was reduced.

In 2020, the U.S. resettled fewer than 10,000 refugees marking a first in the resettlement program’s history. Much of this has to do with the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on policymaking, at least in 2020.

The report says that, among all of the refugees who are persecuted for religion, Christians are disproportionately affected. Open Doors US CEO Lisa Pearce gave some data on the most recent World Watch List, which showcases this persecution worldwide.

In the report on refugee resettling, Christians from countries that rank high on the World Watch List are being resettled less in recent years. Compared with 2016, the number of Christian refugees resettled from nations such as Eritrea and Iran decreased by 85 and 95 percent, respectively.

The report says this shows evidence that there will not be “a return to historically normal resettlement levels” in these particular regions.

Refugees from other religions, including Judaism and Islam, also decreased by a considerable amount in the same time period.

While the Biden administration has raised the ceiling for accepting refugees in 2023, the joint report throws doubt that it will even come close to that number. With this in mind, it offers encouragement for the U.S. government to review its Refugee Resettlement program.

It also wisely suggests praying for the displaced, the persecuted, those in positions of governmental authority, and for the Global church. On that note, Jesus teaching the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 offers an uplifting reminder of His goodness and faithfulness even in the midst of earthly darkness.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.