|Photo by European Commission DG ECHO|
Are you ready? I will immediately be adjusting our city plans in order to anticipate this. You? (See below, but first some questions):
1. Syrian refugees will not have spent decades in refugee camps like the Bhutanese or the refugees from Burma. They will not be as far separated from the horrors of war. How can we bring hope and wholeness to them? How will we address emotional, physical, relational needs?
2. We have no idea what numbers to expect. It has felt like a ton of Bhutanese have been resettled. In reality, it has been just ove 60 thousand. There are some 1.6 million Syrians externally displaced. The UN will need to determine how many total should be resettled. Then nations will volunteer to take different numbers. Traditionally the US offers to take about 50% of the whole. However various factors will come into play. For example, the immigration reform debate could impact this. The Obama administration may not want to spend too much of its political capital on resettling refugees. Plus, most of these refugees will be Muslims. It is simple more difficult to get Americans to feel compassion for Muslims right now. (If you don't believe me, just look at the disgusting comments below the article I have linked to below)
3. What it sure is that this is just about the worst refugee crisis in history. If a thousand or ten thousand Syrian refugees suddenly came to your city, how would your church respond to their needs? Will you be ready?
Obama Admin Considers Resettling Thousands of Syrian Refugees in U.S.: "A resettlement plan under discussion in Washington and other capitals is aimed at relieving pressure on Middle Eastern countries straining to support 1.6 million refugees, as well as assisting hard-hit Syrian families.
The State Department is "ready to consider the idea," an official from the department said, if the administration receives a formal request from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, which is the usual procedure.
The United States usually accepts about half the refugees that the U.N. agency proposes for resettlement. California has historically taken the largest share, but Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia are also popular destinations."