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Christian Groups Decry U.S. Crack Down on Syrian Refugees

Christian humanitarian groups and human rights advocates are speaking out against the massive reduction in the number of Syrian refugees the United States has taken in this year — only 11 compared to 790 over the same period in 2016.

"Wow. We are the wealthiest nation in all of human history. We are also a nation with access to information about the atrocities happening two people not unlike us in #Syria. How can it be that we have taken in only 11 Syrian refugees this year?" Carmen Fowler LaBerge, a writer, speaker and Christian talk radio host, posed on Twitter.

LaBerge linked to a Fox News table displaying State Department statistics, which reveal that in total, 15,479 refugees came to America in 2016.

That number decreased drastically in 2017, Trump's first year as president, to only 3,024 people, and now in mid-April it stands at only 11 admitted Syrian refugees.

Bill O'Keefe, vice president for government relations and advocacy for Catholic Relief Services, told Catholic News Service that the figures are "extremely concerning."

"Millions of Syrians remain displaced, caught in a web of violence and proxy wars," O'Keefe said.

"The United States has traditionally taken the most vulnerable refugees, including Syrians, who have suffered terrible trauma or would be unable to go home. These refugees are the neighbors Jesus told us to love in the Gospel. We can safely welcome thousands of these women, men, and children to our country."

Edward Clancy, director of outreach for Aid to the Church in Need, USA, said that Christian refugees have also faced a difficult time with U.S. immigration policies.

"The number of Christian refugees has been very low compared to their representation in the population, so we're speaking out on behalf of Christians with no voice in the Middle East ... we've made it part of our mandate to support the Christian community in the Middle East in these areas of refugees, food shelter, pastoral care, whatever is needed," Clancy explained.

Evangelical refugee aid group World Relief warned that Trump's actions on reducing the number of refugees coming to America have been responsible for a "a wave of anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies."

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