In a revised version of President Donald Trump’s “refugee ban,” Christians who are fleeing the Middle East will not have priority to enter the U.S.
The new version of the executive order eliminates language that prioritizes religious minorities, but also lifts restrictions on current visa holders and refugees who have already been granted asylum. The ban on Syrian refugees has also been reduced to 120 days.
The updated order goes into effect next Thursday.
“The issuance of a new executive order on refugees and immigrants acknowledges that there were significant problems with the first executive order that caught up green card holders and others as they tried to enter the United States,” said Tim Breene, CEO of World Relief, the evangelical refugee resettlement agency forced to close five offices and lay off 140 employeesafter Trump’s initial executive order.
According to a Pew Research Center survey released this month, 76 percent of self-identified white evangelicals approve the travel ban.
“The US has a right to control who enters our country and to keep out those who seek to do us harm,” tweetedJay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, which regularly advocates for persecuted Christians.
But Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, said religious minorities in Iraq and Syria need refuge.
“There’s a dire need for President Trump to issue a separate executive order—one specifically aimed to help ISIS genocide survivors in Iraq and Syria,” she wrote. “For three years, the Christians, Yizidis and others of the smallest religious minorities have been targeted by ISIS with beheadings, crucifixions, rape, torture and sexual enslavement …. The Christian community is now so shattered and vulnerable, without President Trump’s prompt leadership, the entire Iraqi Christian presence could soon be wiped out.”
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Publication date: March 8, 2017