We Must Prioritize the Persecuted
Excerpt: Upon resumption of refugee admissions, the EO promises to prioritize claims by persecuted religious minorities, a provision Trump said was designed to include Middle East Christians. To those of us who advocate for these Christians, this was heartening news. While most Western media, policymakers, and publics continue to ignore the plight of Middle East Christians, their situation is truly dire. Trump’s statement meant they were finally getting attention at the highest level of the U.S. government. To say the EO ignited a firestorm would be an understatement. The situation over the weekend was chaos. Legal challenges culminated in (to date) four court orders that put parts of the EO on hold. The EO faced mounting congressional criticism from both sides of the aisle. Protesters swamped airports to protest the restrictions and welcome newly arrived travelers. Social media exploded, too. My Twitter and Facebook feeds erupted with a mix of moralistic hand-wringing and sanctimonious virtue-signaling. Precious few actually assessed the EO on its merits. ... Under both international and U.S. law, a refugee is a person fleeing his or her home country because of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Even at the most basic, definitional level, a refugee includes a person who has suffered or is likely to suffer religious persecution. To be eligible for admission, most refugees have to demonstrate that they have a “well-founded fear of persecution” on one of the identified bases.