10,126: Administration Hits Syria Refugee Target; 0.5% Are Christians
(CNSNews.com) – The Obama administration is expected on Monday – a month ahead of schedule – to achieve its goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees this fiscal year.
As of late Sunday, 9,902 had been resettled in the United States, but more than 200 more are expected to arrive from Jordan and surrounding areas over the next day. U.S. Ambassador to Jordan Alice Wells told reporters the 10,000 target announced by President Obama last September will be reached on Monday.
Barring an unlikely last-minute shift, the number of Christians among the 10,000 will be less than half of one percent.
Of the 9,902 before Monday’s arrivals, just 47 (0.47 percent) are Christians, according to State Department Refugee Processing Center data.
The vast majority of the Syrian refugees permitted to resettle in the United States are Sunni Muslims – 9,726 of the 9,902, or 98.2 percent. Another 20 are Shi’a Muslims, and a further 85 are identified in the data simply as Muslims.
The 47 Christians comprise seven Catholics, four Protestants, six Orthodox, one Greek Orthodox and 29 refugees self-reported simply as “Christian.”
Apart from the Muslims and Christians, others admitted during FY 2016 are 14 Yazidis, four Jehovah’s Witnesses, five refugees identified as “other religion,” and one as having “no religion.”
The drawn-out and complex Syrian civil war, which began with a crackdown on dissent in March 2011, has seen numerous act of terror and evident war crimes committed by the Assad regime and its allies, Islamist extremists and other combatants. Millions of Syrians have fled their homeland.
Obama announced last fall that the U.S. would admit 10,000 refugees from Syria during the fiscal year – a six-fold increase from the total 1,682 admissions in FY 2015, which in turn was up from a mere 105 in FY 2014 and 36 in FY 2013.
The initiative took off slowly: By the end of January – one-third of the way through FY 2016 – only 841 Syrian refugees had been admitted.
Then in February the State Department set up a refugee resettlement “surge” center in Amman, Jordan, drastically reducing application processing times.
Between February and April, Department of Homeland Security officers carried out interviews in Jordan with around 12,000 Syrian refugee applicants referred by the U.N. refugee agency, Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard told a briefing earlier this month. She described the screening as “rigorous and exhaustive.” Original Publication