WASHINGTON – While many Christian refugees from Iraq and Syria believe they will never be able to return to their homes, one expert suggests the American people should have a say about how many refugees are let into the country.
To date, the U.S. has welcomed more than 13,000 Syrian refugees. Amid all the concern about radical Islamic infiltrators, Cliff May of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (LINK) told CBN News American citizens should help decide.
"It's our country; it's our house," May said. "We decide to whom to open the doors. We decide to whom to offer a meal and maybe a bedroom. Of course that should go without saying, but it doesn't."
In his recent article entitled "Coming to America," May says he disagrees with those who want to close off America's borders completely. Smart policy, he suggests, involves prioritizing who gets to come in by what's best for America.
Case in Point
When one considers that 56 of the first 11,000 Syrians invited to live in America were Christians that in itself is telling.
"Both houses of Congress and the Obama administration have recognized that genocide is taking place in the Middle East. They've designated that there are victims of genocide. Genocide means whole communities being targeted for extermination," May explained.
"The largest of the minorities, religious minorities, in some cases ethnic as well, are Christians. There are others, such as the Yazidis, who are also being targeted for extermination, victims of genocide," he continued.
"It seems to me that once you agree and understand that these communities are facing genocide, you need to prioritize those victims and that means they get to the front of the line."
May says it's the inaction that runs counter, not to mention immoral, to U.S. policy, especially when you consider the lessons of World War II, Bosnia and Rwanda.
Instead, the U.S. has designated Christians in Syria and northern Iraq as suffering, but told them they'll have to get in line – and even that isn't as easy as it may sound.
"We know that Christians in the Middle East are frightened to go through the U.N. structure, which the U.S. has sort of designated as the gatekeeper," May said. "They're afraid to go to the camps the U.N. has set up. It's not the U.N.'s fault exactly, but they're not protected in those camps from Islamic State infiltrators, from criminal gangs, from other people in the camp who may be hostile to Christians for all sorts of reasons."
Some members of Congress are working to give Christians alternative routes into the United States.
In the meantime, allowing more Christian refugees into the country could give Americans peace of mind.
"Al Qaeda, the Islamic State – these are not equal opportunity employers," May said. "They don't employ Christians so it's easier to vet Christians because Christians are not going to come here in order to become suicide bombers for ISIS or al Qaeda. It doesn't work that way.
The Christian communities in the Middle East now under attack have survived centuries of hardship. The idea that they could be wiped out in a generation is terrible, he said.