NY Times- House Approves Tougher Refugee Screening, Defying Veto Threat

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The House of Representatives has received an overwhelming majority in favor of strict screening regulations for Syrian refugees entering into the United States. This new vote was cast in response to the recent terrorist attacks in France and Lebanon (article 1/ article 2/ article 3). “Our duty is to protect the American people,” said Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the majority leader. The House measure, he said, “increases the standards to keep those who want to do us harm out.” The refugees who have arrived from Syria since 2012 have been placed in 130 towns and cities (view a graphic map here).

President Obama has been requesting to execute authoritative force against the Islamic State. Yet, this recent vote in Congress has come while lawmakers in both parties have denied and continue to President Obama’s requests for force. This further highlights the complications and confusions within the war on terror. “Speaking after a meeting on Thursday with Justin Trudeau, Canada’s new prime minister, Mr. Obama insisted that refugees were subjected to ‘the most rigorous vetting process that we have for anybody who is admitted.’ He said the process of screening a potential refugee takes up to two years and includes background checks by the national counterterrorism center, the F.B.I. and the Defense Department. ‘That somehow they pose a more significant threat than all the tourists who pour into the United States every single day just doesn’t jibe with reality (view full article here).’” – NY Times

It was also noted that there was a heated rebuttal from President Obama when members of Congress suggested that only Christian refugees be allowed into the country and not Muslims. Representative John Conyers of Michigan, the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, stated, “We must keep in mind that our nation was founded by immigrants and has historically welcomed refugees when there is suffering around the globe. Rather than shutting our doors to these desperate men, women and children who are risking their lives to escape death and torture in their homelands, we should work to utilize our immense resources and good intentions of our citizens to welcome them (view full article here).” It is unclear as to what the outcome of all these legislative issues will be, with regards to the refugee crisis, but it is clear that amidst one of the most difficult periods for the Syrian people, these acts of terror have deepened their struggles.

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HOW YOU CAN HELP IN DEFENSE OF REFUGEES

We invite you to share with the Orthodox Christian Network substantive philanthropies that are coming to the aid of all that are persecuted.  Notable is the IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities) whom “in the spirit of Christ’s love, offers emergency relief and development programs to those in need worldwide, without discrimination, and strengthens the capacity of the Orthodox Church to so respond”.  The IOCC has undertaken significant initiatives to help save Syria’s children whom are displaced or living as refugees.  Notably 92% of every dollar donated to the IOCC “directly helps those affecting dire situations”.

“You can help the victims of poverty and conflicts around the world by making a financial gift to the IOCC International Emergency Response Fund which will provide immediate relief, as well as long-term support through the provision of emergency aid, recovery assistance and other support to help those in need. To make a gift, please visit iocc.org or call toll free at 1-877-803-IOCC (4622), or mail a check or money order payable to IOCC, P.O. Box 17398, Baltimore, MD 21297.

An additional notable philanthropy is “The Barnabas Fund’s Operation Safe Havens program which has pressed governments to issue visas to persecuted Christians, on condition that the organization will foot their expenses”.   Operation Safe Havens was featured in an August 20, 2015, editorial in the Wall Street Journal by Robert R. Reilly, director of the Westminster Institute in McLean, Va.

The Orthodox Christian Network invites you to support our coverage of Christian Persecution and Religious Freedom and your input is welcomed and appreciated. You have our resound commitment to be a resource of compassion, a voice of help, and active participant to helping all in need.

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Dean Franck is a first year student in the Master's…
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