Resettlement groups argue that compassion and security are not opposing forces.
Despite previous plans to admit the highest number of refugees in decades, the United States would be shutting its doors to thousands displaced by conflict in the Middle East—at least temporarily—under an executive order President Donald Trump is expected to sign this week.
Christian aid groups responsible for resettlement mourned and criticized the impending decision to stop accepting any refugees into the US for the next four months. A circulating draft of the order puts an indefinite ban on refugees coming from Syria, and a month-long pause on anyone entering America from a handful of Muslim-majority nations.
“Our concern is that this action really does further traumatize a group of people that have already borne so much tragedy,” said Scott Arbeiter, president of World Relief, one of nine agencies that partner with the federal government to resettle refugees. “The human toll is really crushing.”
The humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) took on about 11,000 cases last year—a record high since 1999—and enlisted almost 1,200 churches to help.
The circulating draft of the executive order, part of Trump’s campaign promise to crackdown on immigration, targets seven Muslim-majority countries in particular: Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Iran, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen.
Syria, where ISIS violence has displaced more than a million residents, was the second-most popular country of origin among the nearly 85,000 refugees the US admitted last year. Syrians comprised …