Statement from World Refugee Care President Jalil Dawood on President Trump’s Executive Order
So many over the past few days have voiced their opinions on how refugees should be treated by our country. Many are outraged over President Trump’s Executive Order. Yet I’ve encountered few of them who have actually read it.
If you go by what people on social media and in the American left are saying, President Trump has devastated the global refugee community.
And while it’s true that the temporary halt on refugees is an aggressive move, it’s no different – and no more aggressive – than various other policies handed down by both Democratic and Republican administrations in recent decades.
Consider this: In 2016, Christians and Yazidis made up less than 1% of refugees coming from Syria, even though the two religious groups together are well above 10% of the country’s population.
That’s incredible when you consider the genocide that’s taking place against Christians and Yazidis in Iraq and Syria – which is why they make up a larger portion of the general refugee population than they do the general population.
So President Obama’s policies (perhaps inadvertently) favored Muslim refugees from Syria over and above Christian refugees – by a long shot.
But here’s the truth: President Trumps Executive Order isn’t the “Muslim ban” that so many are proclaiming it to be. It targets refugees from 7 specific nations – countries which were also targeted for additional scrutiny under President Obama’s visa waver program in 2016.
Limits were also placed on refugees in the early years of the Syrian Civil War. According to the U.S. Department of State, only 201 refugees were admitted from Syria in the first four years of the war, when refugees were overwhelming nations like Turkey, Lebanon, and parts of Europe. Yet you barely heard a peep back then from many of those who are so vocal today.
And this wasn’t much of a departure from America’s longstanding policy on refugees. It was only in 2016 – when the number of refugees admitted soared by 375% – that the number of refugees entering the U.S. became so high.
My hope and prayer is that our government will take this temporary stay on refugees and become better at vetting those we’re letting in our country. And until this period is over, I believe we do well to be patient and allow our government to do the work they were elected to do: keep our country safe.
But what gives me much more pause than this Executive Order is that until this issue blew up our social media feeds, not many people truly cared about – or even knew about – the seriousness of the refugee crisis.
Right now, there are more than 65 million people worldwide who’ve been driven from their homes. So instead of heading to social media to right this societal wrong, let’s ask what steps we can really take to help those 65 million men, women, and children – wherever they are in the refugee process.
Because history has shown that a tiny fraction of them will ever make it to America or another Western nation.
I fully support America and it’s right to defend herself. But as a refugee – and a Christian – I am also for helping others like me.
That’s why no matter what happens during and after this temporary stay, my mission – and the mission of World Refugee Care – will continue to be providing care and compassion to refugee families wherever they are.
I live in one of the most generous and prosperous countries the world has ever known. And I pray God continues to grant us wisdom and clarity as we navigate this extremely complex issue in the months ahead.