AMERICA/UNITED STATES - Trump: no "selective reception" reserved for Christian refugees

Wednesday, 8 March 2017 refugees   religious minorities   discrimination   migrants  


Washington (Agenzia Fides) - The executive order on immigration signed by US President Donald Trump in late January, and intended to suspend the entry into the United States of refugees from seven countries with a Muslim majority for 120 days, did not intend to provide "a basis for discrimination in favor of or against members of a particular religion". This emphasis is expressed in the text of the new presidential executive order, signed by the US President on Monday, March 6, after the aforementioned Presidential measure ordered in late January was blocked by several judges and national prosecutors. A large section of the text of the new presidential order - which aims to propose again many of the anti-immigrant provisions in the blocked text - is dedicated to exposing their posthumous explanations and justifications on the previous measure content, in response to the large amount of criticism. Among other things, President Trump also responds to the interpretations according to whom the executive order in late January would have allowed to offer privileged hospitality to refugees of Christian faith from Countries affected by the ban. That order - emphasizes the new presidential order - allowed to prioritize the reception of refugees who are members "of persecuted religious minority groups", a priority which applied "to refugees of all nations, including those in which Islam is a minority religion, and minority communities within the same religion". Basically - emphasizes the new presidential order - the order issued in late January and blocked by the judges did not contain specific provisions preliminary to any religion, but was aimed at ensuring the ability of all religious minorities, without discrimination, to make use of the US Program for the admission of refugees (USRAP).
The new measure regards the ban to migrants and refugees belonging to six - and no more seven - countries: Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iran, Yemen and Somalia. In the previous measure, Iraq was in the list of countries of the so-called "muslim ban". The suspension of 120 days, which will not allow refugees coming from those countries to enter the USA should take effect from 19 March. In the new provision it specifies that the visa and green card holders can travel in the USA.
In late January (see Fides 28/01/2017), coinciding with the publication of the executive order then blocked by the courts, it was the same USA President Donald Trump who recognized as a "priority" the granting of legal status of refugee to the "category persecuted Christians" by making explicit reference to the Syrian situation. The considerations on the special treatment for Christian refugees were expressed by Trump in an excerpt of an interview on Friday, January 27, with the Christian Broadcasting Network, the media system founded by tele-preacher Pat Robertson. When the journalist asked if the changes he introduced in the reception policy of refugees had a relation with the situation of persecuted Christians, and if he considered this reality as "a priority", Donald Trump responded in an affirmative manner. "(Persecuted Christians) have been treated horribly" stressed the President of the United States, adding that "if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, very, very difficult to enter the United States. If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 08/03/2017)