It is also worth noting that because Christians in Iraq and Syria are facing genocide—as opposed to displacement—there is a limited window for rescue. Unlike the thousands of refugees pouring into Europe, who are mostly escaping the violence driven by the sectarian war in Syria, Christians are facing a targeted campaign of annihilation. The U.S. ought to take that distinction into consideration when prioritizing the resettlement of the additional 30,000 refugees the country is slated to absorb over the next two years.
Earlier this year, Rep. Juan Vargas, a California Democrat, introduced House Resolution 1568, the “Protecting Religious Minorities Persecuted by ISIS Act of 2015.” The act’s modest goal is to require the secretary of state to “report to Congress a plan to expedite the processing of refugee admissions applications” for religious minorities threatened with extinction by ISIS.
The bill hasn’t moved in Congress, partly due to inattention but also because the Obama administration seems to want nothing to do with it. “I haven’t heard anything from the administration on moving this bill forward,” says Illinois Republican Randy Hultgren, one of the bill’s co-sponsors. Mr. Arabo says the lack of movement illustrates “bureaucratic negligence and indifference” on the part of the administration. “The State Department has already indicated their unwillingness to reinstate processing for religious minorities.”