Primer – Reading List for Christians on the Refugee Debate

With all the conflicting noise, especially in social media here’s some suggested reading to help frame come commonly asked questions on the refugee crisis.

Is the Refugee vetting process safe?

  • Refugees have been resettled in the US since 1976, not one of the 3 million has been convicted of domestic terrorism.
  • 2+ year process, extra vetting for Syrians, FBI director signs off on each case: WhiteHouse.gov Infographic.
  • In comparison, there are 70+ million visitors and many student visas each year granted based on a 10 minute interview.

Why aren’t the Arab countries taking in the refugees?

  • Surrounding countries ARE taking them in… it’s just too much. Lebanon’s population now is 30%+ Syrian refugees. The refugees have been forced on the surrounding Arab nations, 2.7 million in Turkey, 1.6 in Jordan, 1.4 in Lebanon.

Can sanctions be levied against Arab countries so they take more refugees?

  • Refugee resettlement is a voluntary process…no.
  • The Gulf states and other nations have refused to take in refugees for various reasons. Countries decide independently to participate.

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-3-40-59-pmAren’t Syrian Refugees all young men, 80% military aged males with no families?

  • UNHCR data for registered Syrian refugees says that they are 48.6% Female. Refugee population is pretty much 50/50.

Why are we taking in refugees when we’re not doing enough to take care of our own, like Veterans?

  • VA 2015 budget: 164 billion, with about 80 billion on medical, homelessness and mental health alone. Refugee resettlement cost per year: about 1 billion.
  • Refugees have to pay back the US Government for their travel costs, and most are off of public assistance after 90 days.
knitting_a_brighter_future_for_syrian_refugees_in_lebanon_11173833666
Photo Credit: UK Department for International Development

Aren’t Refugees a drain on the economy? We have so many homeless and unemployed!

About Scott Gustafson

Scott Gustafson has extensive experience in global ministry and business in the Middle East, having lived or worked in the region for nearly 15 years. He serves as the Middle East Director for a US based ministry and is also the Managing Partner of Purpose Global Strategies, an International Business and non-profit consulting firm. He advises large funding agencies as well as indigenous businesses and ministries in Sudan, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. He teaches as an adjunct faculty member of Cornerstone University. He has an MA in Intercultural Communication from Moody Graduate School, and a BA in Nursing and Biology from Western Michigan University. Scott and his wife have 2 children and they live in Grand Rapids, MI.

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