Bernie Anderson
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Current musings, whatever they may be. 

Fact and Fiction

This is not an article about the books I am currently reading on American Myth and folklore (more on that later) - this is one more post on the Syrian refugee crisis - and I make no apology for that.

This is the huminatiarian crisis of our day - and we as Christians must look at this with Biblical and not political eyes. My past two posts were on this topic ... and I am adding one more because just this week I received a handout to be shared with churches that gives clear facts about this situation. I am going to share here, becuase it's high time the myths being flung around about the current refugee crisis be busted. We need to stop the political posturing and do the right thing.

This is solid information, as opposed to made-up statistics and twisted data. I hope you find it helpful. Pray for Syria and her people. The refugees fleeing Syria need our help, not our scorn and fear.

(By the way, another good resource is this sermon preached by the teaching pastor at Vineyard Columbus (one of the largest churches in Ohio). Church leaders should be armed with good information and have the courage to call the church to stand for those who are vulnerable and suffering, for the sake of the Kingdom.

The Syrian Refugee Crisis by the Numbers…

21,000,000 Syrian population before the war
12,000,000 Syrians displaced from their homes, whether internally or as refugees
4,000,000 Syrian refugees in the Middle East
3,000,000 refugees from all countries have arrived in the U.S. over 35 years (268,000 welcomed by World Relief)
900,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Europe so far this year
340,000 Christian refugees resettled in the U.S. since 2003 (the largest religious group, at 45%)
210,000 women and children resettled in the US since 2011 (70% of total)
200,000 civilians killed in Syria
86,000 Syrian immigrants resided in the US in 2014, including 2,261 Syrian resettled refugees
30,000 Syrian refugees France announced (after the Paris attacks) it will welcome in the next 2 years
10,000 Syrian refugees that the U.S. has committed to welcome in the next year (out of 85,000 total)
3,000 migrants who have died/drowned seeking safety in Europe in 2015 394 Unreached People Group’s now residing in the United States
18 to 24 Months (avg.) of security screening & interviews for a refugee before arriving in the US
17 Years (avg.) length of time from when a refugee first flees their country until they reach a “durable solution”
0 – the number terrorist attacks in the U.S. perpetrated by refugees resettled to the US

Myth #1: Refugees resettled into the United States are “unvetted.”
Fact: Refugees undergo a multi-layered screening and vetting process, which occurs entirely before the individual is allowed to enter the United States and which generally takes at least 18 months, that is more thorough than that to which any other category of immigrant or visitor to the United States is subjected.

Myth #2: The recent terrorist attack in Paris exposes that the U.S. is also vulnerable to terrorist attacks from refugees or those posing as refugees.
Fact: The situation facing Europe—with nearly 1 million individuals arriving and seeking asylum just in the past year—is vastly different than that of the U.S. refugee resettlement program, which aims to accept a maximum of 10,000 Syrian refugees this year. Asylum seekers arriving at Europe’s borders or shores can only be vetted and processed after entry to the European continent, whereas the relatively few refugees admitted from Syria to the U.S. are allowed in only after a thorough, multi-layered vetting process that lasts at least 18 months. Furthermore, all attackers identified thus far in the Paris attacks were European citizens—not refugees.

Myth #3: The recent terrorist attack in California exposes that the U.S. is vulnerable to terrorist attacks from those posing as refugees.
Fact: Neither of the two alleged terrorists implicated in the tragic attacks in San Bernardino, California underwent the thorough, multi-layered vetting process of the U.S. Refugee Resettlement: one was a native-born U.S. citizen and the other entered on a fiancée visa, which involves a screening process that is significantly less rigorous than that required for refugees being considered for resettlement.

Myth #4: All (or most) refugees are Muslims and are from the Middle East.
Fact: Last year, more refugees admitted to the U.S. were Christians (about 45%) than of any other single religious tradition. The U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program presents a vital lifeline for persecuted Christians (as well as persecuted individuals of other faiths). About 25% of refugees admitted to the U.S. last year were fleeing situations in the Middle East, but most actually come from other regions of the world. More refugees came from Burma—where most admitted refugees are persecuted Christians—than from all of the Middle Eastern countries combined.

Myth #5: All (or most) Muslims are terrorists, or at least sympathetic to terrorism.
Fact: While there certainly have been high-profile cases of terrorism committed by Muslims motivated by extremist ideologies, the vast majority of Muslims reject those views. For example, a recent Pew Research Center survey conducted in Muslim majority nations found, across the board, that the vast majority of Muslims with an opinion about ISIS had a negative view of the group.

Myth #6: *Refugees are responsible for most terrorist attacks in the United States
Of more than 3 million refugees admitted to the U.S. since the late 1970s, none has ever perpetrated a terrorist attack within the United States. In fact, according to New America, the majority of jihadist terrorism cases in the United States since September 11, 2001 have involved U.S. citizens, most of them born in the United States

Myth #7: Most Syrian refugees coming into the United States are young men.
Fact: Of Syrian refugees admitted to the U.S thus far, 70% have been women or children under the age of 14. The U.S. refugee resettlement program prioritizes those cases it deems to be the most vulnerable for resettlement.

Myth #8: There are 200,000 (or 250,000) Syrian refugees about to enter the U.S.
Fact: Since 2011, less than 2,500 Syrian refugees have been admitted into the U.S. thru the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program, & the State Department has indicated a goal of admitting no more than 10,000 in the coming year.

Myth #9: Refugees are a drain on our economy.
Fact: Most economists believe that refugees, like other immigrants, have a net positive economic impact. A study of refugees in Cleveland, Ohio, found that, despite some initial costs related to refugee resettlement, in time those refugees accounted for more than ten times that amount in positive economic impact.

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