Information and statistics

  • Who are refugees? According to the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees, a refugee is someone who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”  This definition does not include people who have fled economic hardship or are victims of natural disasters.  These individuals are often deserving of humanitarian assistance, and may be admitted to the United States as immigrants, but they are not refugees.
  • The call for safety (a moratorium followed by a dramatic reduction in refugees to be admitted and likely indefinite ban on some nations) is based on misunderstood and often exaggerated claims of the danger posed by this population. Since the inception of the refugee program, three million refugees have been admitted to the United States. In this time, there has not been one American life lost to an act of terrorism perpetrated by a refugee in the U.S.
     
  • No refugee can choose to come to the United States. They are only admitted after being selected by the U.S. Department of State and after going through a vetting process by the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and other agencies that includes multiple interviews, biometric scanning, background checks etc. If there is any question about the security matters, the refugee is eliminated from the program.
     
  • This is a matter of justice. Some of the most vulnerable people of an entire generation are being denied the compassion and care that have long been core American values. 
     
  • The refugee admission process is the most thorough of all entry processes into the U.S.
     
  • We do know who these refugees are. They go through a multi-step process that generally lasts anywhere between 18 months to 3 years, and includes fingerprinting, biometrics, retina scans, and multiple interviews by different agencies, including the United Nations, State Department contractors, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. World Relief—the organization I lead that resettles refugees—receives a thorough biographic report compiled by the U.S. State Department on each refugee we receive before they enter the country.
     
  • The effectiveness of the process is demonstrated by the fact that, of the roughly three million refugees admitted since 1980, none has ever killed a single American in a terrorist attack.
     
  • The Cato Institute’s research puts the annual risk of a refugee-committed terrorist killing on U.S. soil at 1 in 3.6 billion.
     
  • Nothing within this executive order would have prevented 9/11, nor the more recent attacks in San Bernardino or Orlando.
     
  • At least 5,700 fewer persecuted Christians will be allowed to come to the U.S. as refugees in Fiscal Year 2017 than in Fiscal Year 2016 as a result of the order’s dramatic cut to the overall number of refugees allowed, despite the president’s stated concern for persecuted Christians.
     
  • In the past decade, the U.S. has never received more than a fraction of one percent of the world’s refugees annually, and it has received more Christian refugees than those of any other faith background.
     
  • Of the 19,324 Syrian refugees admitted to the U.S. since 2012, 47% have been children thirteen years of age or under, while just 13% have been men aged 21 through 40.
     
  • This administrations' actions compounds a human tragedy at this time of the greatest refugee crisis in human history, and leaves far too many people in desperate circumstances, and far too many families separated. At World Relief, 70% of our refugee cases involved the reunification of families torn apart by war and violence. The action keeps families apart.
  • Four months is an excessive time to verify or augment the already robust security and vetting processes in place for refugees entering the US. We call on the administration and the Department of Homeland Security to complete this process more quickly so that families can be reunited and we can show the compassion on which the United States has been built.
  • A significant share of refugees admitted to the U.S. from the Middle East—including 35% admitted from Middle Eastern countries over the past decade—have been Christians, and these persecuted believers, some of whom are facing what the U.S. State Department has labeled as genocide, will be shut out under this new policy. Christians and religious minorities are already a much higher percentage in the refugee population, as many as 5 time the number, over the percentage in the general population from the countries affected by this ban. Furthermore, we fear this new policy could unintentionally fuel extremist sentiments against Christians and other religious minorities within these regions.
  • The decision to restrict all entry of refugees and other immigrants from these particular regions contradicts the American tradition of welcoming families who come to the United States to start their lives again in safety and dignity. The American people—most of whom can trace their own families’ stories through a similar immigrant journey in search of freedom—are a hospitable people.
  • As an evangelical Christian organization, biblical teachings are our top authority. The Scriptures are replete with God’s commands to his people to love, welcome, and seek justice for refugees and other immigrants. Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan—a man whom Jesus presents as the model of neighborly love when he provides assistance to a person in need of a different religious tradition—is our standard. This new announcement clashes with these biblical values, which are an important authority for many Americans.
  •  We are committed to praying for President Trump and his administration as they consider these and other vital decisions that will impact the lives of millions of vulnerable people, both within the United States and abroad.
  • As we have done with the past six presidential administrations, World Relief is eager to work with the Trump Administration to ensure that the proud American tradition of resettling refugees from around the world continues. While governmental policy may change, our commitment to standing alongside the persecuted, displaced, and vulnerable remains firm.