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Trump administration fails to deliver on promises to Christian refugees

North America

Trump administration fails to deliver on promises to Christian refugees

CINCINNATI, OH – DECEMBER 01: President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence stand onstage together at U.S. Bank Arena on December 1, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)

Despite promises that the Trump administration would allow thousands of Christian refugees from war torn Middle East countries into the United States, it has now been revealed that only 23 Iranian and Iraqi refugees have been admitted to the U.S.

When he was president, the Obama administration set a target of resettling more than 110,000 refugees for resettlement in fiscal year 2017, the highest goal since 1995.

This week, the Trump administration set the ceiling on the number of refugees that can be resettled in the United States next year at 30,000.

Even as the number of refugees allowed in America has dropped since Trump took office, the State Department has named international religious freedom as one of its primary goals. To some extent, these two policies work against each other, says Jenny Yang, who provides oversight for all advocacy initiatives and policy positions at World Relief.

Last October Vice-President Mike Pence unveiled plans for the United States to provide more direct aid to Christians and other minorities facing genocide in the Middle East by passing what he called funding “ineffective” United Nations programs. The State Department has named international religious freedom as one of its primary goals.

However, only 18 and 5 refugees from Iraq and Iran respectively—countries where many Christians have been persecuted in recent years—have been resettled in the US since the beginning of the year.