In the first half of the 2016 fiscal year, the US has received 28,957 Muslim refugees, 46% of the 63,000 refugees who have entered since the beginning of the fiscal year on Oct. 1, 2015.
According to the Pew Research Center, that number exceeded the number of Christians who entered as refugees, at 27,556 or 44%.
People seeking to enter the U.S. as refugees are processed overseas. As part of the process, they are asked a series of questions, including their religious affiliation. When their applications are approved, refugees travel to the U.S. to be resettled by nonprofit groups associated with the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Refugees to the U.S. are different from asylum seekers, who claim asylum after already being in the U.S. or crossing into the U.S. via an airport or land border.
When I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted … that’s shameful…. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.
National Review‘s Andrew McCarthy has pointed out that
Under federal law, the executive branch is expressly required to take religion into account in determining who is granted asylum. Under the provision governing asylum (section 1158 of Title 8, U.S. Code), an alien applying for admission must establish that … religion [among other things] … was or will be at least one central reason for persecuting the applicant. Moreover, to qualify for asylum in the United States, the applicant must be a “refugee” as defined by federal law. That definition (set forth in Section 1101(a)(42)(A) of Title 8, U.S. Code) also requires the executive branch to take account of the alien’s religion: The term “refugee” means (A) any person who is outside any country of such person’s nationality … and who is unable or unwilling to return to … that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of … religion [among other things] …[.]
So all Obama’s faux indignation notwithstanding, the administration must know that religion, being one of the bases for claims that one is a refugee, must by law be taken into account. Apparently, the administration finds itself in a sort of “reverse rendition” situation, wherein the unpleasant “not who we are” stuff –like asking someone their religion –takes place in a foreign country.
But further, the administration knows that making clear a potential refugee’s religion will lead to inconvenient questions about actual persecution, which the administration would like to dodge.
In the case of this war, the Islamic State is undeniably persecuting Christians. . . . as a matter of doctrine. Even those Christians the Islamic State does not kill, it otherwise persecutes as called for by its construction of sharia (observe, for example, the ongoing rape jihad and sexual slavery). . . .[T]he Islamic State seeks to rule Muslims, not kill or persecute them. Obama prefers not to dwell on the distinction between the jihadist treatment of Muslims, on the one hand, and of Christians, Jews and other religions, on the other hand, because he — like much of Washington — inhabits a world in which jihadists are not Islamic and, therefore, have no common ground with other Muslims . . . While there is no question that ISIS will kill and persecute Muslims whom it regards as apostates for refusing to adhere to its construction of Islam, it is abject idiocy to suggest that Muslims are facing the same ubiquity and intensity of persecution as Christians.
The administration set the goal of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees in the U.S. this year. As of the middle of August, the administration is about 86% of the way toward its goal. Among the 8,569 Syrian refugees received, 99% are Muslim and less than 1% are Christian.