US Fails Persecuted Christians Seeking Refuge

A recent report from renowned evangelical humanitarian groups Open Doors and World Relief brings to light a troubling trend: the United States, once a beacon of hope for the persecuted, has shut its doors on Christians fleeing oppression, violence and discrimination, with numbers plummeting a significant 70% from 32,248 in 2016 to 9,528 in 2022.

This decline is notably alarming, especially since, as per Open Doors, around 360 million Christians currently endure “high levels of discrimination and persecution,” a stark increase from the 260 million reported just two years prior in 2020. Most of this surge emanates from sub-Saharan Africa, propelling more nations into the Open Doors Watch List — indicative of countries where persecution of Christians is exceptionally severe.

This drop in refugee provisions is not commensurate with the constitutional values of America, a country that prides itself on being a sanctuary for those fleeing religious persecution. This regression reveals a failure to uphold the commitment to religious freedom enshrined within the First Amendment.

It is noted that the arrival of Christian refugees from notoriously persecuting countries like Myanmar dropped from 7,634 in 2016 to 587 in 2022. Similarly, Christian refugees from Iran plummeted from 2,086 to 112, and Iraq from 1,524 to 93 during the same period.

Despite such grim statistics, there is a minor upswing in the resettlements during the last year, contrasting 2018 and 2020, where the numbers were 11,528 and 5,390, respectively. It is crucial to observe this, not as a resolution but as a small step in the right direction, underlining the extensive work that still needs to be done.

The refugee count was intentionally minimized to under 10,000 refugees in 2020, creating barriers for those in dire need of sanctuary. Although the ceiling has since been raised to 125,000 overall refugees annually, the current statistics show that only around 60,000 were resettled in the U.S. in 2023.

The report said, “The first edition of this Closed Doors report noted soberly that an estimated 80 million people around the globe had been forcibly displaced from their homes and that at least 260 million Christians worldwide lived under the threat of persecution and discrimination.”

The report is assertive in its plea, urging the United States to restore its commitment to offering refuge to persecuted Christians and all seeking religious liberty. The groups appeal to all political parties and citizens, emphasizing that respect for religious freedom should be an American value, transcending partisan loyalties.

While policy revisions are imperative, the report also challenges the Christian community to exemplify solidarity with their persecuted brethren around the globe, advocating for refugee and asylum policies that alleviate the plight of the persecuted Christians.

This is an era where Christians worldwide face unprecedented persecution, many forced to flee their homes. It becomes not just a policy obligation but a moral and spiritual duty to stand in unity with them, ensuring our advocacy and prayers resound in the corridors of power, compelling a change in the narrative, and reaffirming America’s role as a true sanctuary for the persecuted.