Conflict in the Middle East Has Been Hard on Christians
War is a horrible reality in the Middle East, and military conflicts allow minority ethnic and religious groups to be targeted. Christian communities in the Middle East have suffered during and after military conflicts since the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
This May, 2013 article, “How the Iraq War Became a War on Christians,” looks not only at the violence against Christians in Iraq and more recently Syria, but also at U.S. government policy restricting Christian refugees from these crises:
Those Iraqi Christians who fled to America would fare little better in seeking asylum. Many Chaldeans and Assyrians were detained, until their cases were heard, in what an attorney familiar with Chaldean-asylum cases describes as “prisons,” adding that she “never worked on a case where a Chaldean was granted asylum, but I heard that it happened.” Throughout these deportation proceedings, the administration and the State Department steadfastly refused to recognize the conditions—which the U.S. had helped to bring about—as “persecution.” In consequence, most were deported. [Source.]
Whatever the arguments for and against the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, and arguments for further intervention in Iraq and Syria now, U.S. refugee policy is a separate policy that can and should be reformed. Many blame violence in the Middle East today on past U.S. interventions, but much violence erupts in countries like Egypt and Libya without or before U.S. military involvement.
U.S. refugee policy has become mixed up with dysfunctional U.S. immigration policy. Refugees are seen as a burden on taxpayers and every claim by Christians (and others) seeking to immigrate to the U.S. due to fears of persecution at home are greeted with skepticism. Government officials worry that those claiming refugee status are “just” trying to come the the U.S. for jobs.
• Saving the Asylum System (Cato Commentary April 24, 2014)
• Kurdistan’s Syrian Refugee Crisis (Cato Commentary, January 9, 2013)
• Providing A Haven for Refugees: an Alternative to U.S. Military Intervention in the Balkans (this 1993 article looks at refugee policy reform as alternative to foreign military interventions).