Refugees Aren’t Skittles. Should Their Religion Affect Their Entrance to the US?

This week, we’ve been having a national conversation about candy.

"If I had a bowl of Skittles and I told you just three would kill you, would you take a handful?'' states a tweet posted by Donald Trump Jr. earlier this week. "That's our Syrian refugee problem."

"This image says it all. Let's end the politically correct agenda that doesn't put America first."

Trump Jr.’s image has gone viral—but not necessarily because its message resonates with the truth.

“There are theological problems with comparing human beings made in the image of God to candy,” said Matthew Soerens. The US director of church mobilization at World Relief, a group which helps the government resettle refugees, added, “It’s a good rhetorical tool but it’s based on bad data.”

Only two refugees out of the thousands who have been admitted since the 1970s have committed terrorist attacks, said Soerens, citing a recent report from the Cato Institute. “There’s been none since the 1980s.”

“If you include that, the odds of being killed by a refugee who commits terrorist activity in the United States if you’re an American is 1.36 billion,” said Soerens.

(Editor’s note: The stat is actually 1 in 3.6 billion.)

In spite of this debate, this past fiscal year, the US welcomed more than 10,000 Syrian refugees. But while Christians have been increasingly persecuted by ISIS, fewer than 150 entered the country this year. So where are they?

According to Nina Shea, who directs the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute, “They are facing genocide by ISIS...the worst human rights violation of all. They are not coming into the United States in the proportion that would be fair.”

Soerens and Shea joined Morgan and Katelyn to discuss what obstacles may be facing Syrian Christians trying to enter the United States, why many may have remained in their homeland, and whether the US should double the number of refugees it admits annually.

What is “Quick to Listen”? Read more.

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You can follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Katelyn Beaty

You can follow our guest on Twitter: Matthew Soerens

Quick to Listen is produced by Richard Clark and Cray Allred, with help from Kate Shellnutt.

Additional Reading

Grapes of Wrath: Refugees Face Steinbeck Scenario in Lebanon's Napa Valley

The First Country to Officially Defend Christians Persecuted by ISIS

Christian Refugees in Germany Report High Levels of Religious Violence

Churches Are Twice as Likely to Fear Refugees as to Help Them

World Relief: How Does Refugee Resettlement Work?

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