USA (MNN) — The suspense is tangible. U.S. refugee resettlement agencies and advocates are anxiously waiting to see what action President-elect Trump will take.
Only eight weeks remain until Trump takes office. Trump visited with Kris Kobach, Kansas’ secretary of state, earlier this week “to discuss border security, international terrorism and reforming federal bureaucracy.”
Kobach is rumored to be a serious contender for one of the positions on Trump’s Cabinet. Papers held by Kobach and captured in an Associated Press photograph reveal part of his strategic plan for the Department of Homeland Security.
“Bar the entry of potential terrorists” was a top priority on the plan, which contained the following sub-points:
- Update and reintroduce the NSEERS screening and tracking system (National Security Entry-Exit Registration System) that was in place from 2002-2005. All aliens from high-risk areas are tracked.
- Add extreme vetting questions for high-risk aliens; question them regarding support for Sharia law, jihad, equality for men and women, the United States Constitution.
- Reduce intake of Syrian refugees to zero, using authority under the 1980 Refugee Act.
On the campaign trail, Donald Trump vowed to “close the door” to Syrian refugees if elected. Bill Blacquiere of Bethany Christian Services calls for a different response from U.S. believers. “Jesus Himself was a refugee,” he says.
“Jesus Himself had to flee with his parents from Israel. How would it have been if Egypt wouldn’t have taken His family in? There again is just another example of why the Christian community needs to care for refugees.”
Bethany partners with local churches to help resettle refugee families, providing assistance with things like cultural adjustment, transportation, and English as a Second Language (ESL) tutoring.
“Bethany could not do this work without Christian churches,” says Blacquiere. “Christian churches take responsibility for helping the family with housing, finding jobs…many families that come in who are not Christian are then exposed to this Christian church.”
Over the past few years, foster care for unaccompanied refugee children has become one of Bethany’s largest programs. Christ-followers are actively involved in this process as well.
“Many of these children have spent anywhere from five to eight years in a refugee camp,” Blacquiere says. “Bethany takes those children into the United States, approved by our government, and we place them in Christian foster homes.”
In each program, the love of Christ shines through believers in word and deed. The Gospel in action is transformative.
“They just couldn’t believe the love and kindness that were shown to them…many of these refugees accept Christ into their life.”
“What I’m very thankful for is that the Christian community is really stepping up to care for refugees…if it [were not] for the Christian community in the United States, we would not be able to take in the amount of refugees that we do.”