The Trump administration vowed to help vulnerable Christians around the world, but it is making it more difficult for Christian refugees to enter the United States, NBC News reported.
The number of Christian refugees granted entry into the United States has dropped by more than 40 percent over the past year — a decline of nearly 11,000 refugees. Among those having trouble are a group of Iranian Christians who remain in legal limbo in Austria awaiting a decision on their fate expected as soon as Wednesday. Their plight illustrates how President Donald Trump's tough line on refugees from mostly Muslim countries has also closed the door to Christians and other religious minorities trying to flee to safety in the U.S.
"Ironically, these policies, while clearly aimed at Muslim refugees, ensure that Christians and other religious minorities from many of the countries on Trump’s list of suspect travel ban nations are also kept out," said Mary Giovagnoli of Refugees Council USA. "It suggests that the president has no real interest in religious persecution or the tenets of religious freedom."
A Trump administration spokesperson rejected the criticism.
"The administration has made helping persecuted religious minorities in the Middle East a top priority," the official said, citing humanitarian aid delivered to Christians and other vulnerable communities in northern Iraq.