|Photo by Trocaire|
Foreign Policy has an exclusive story posted yesterday announcing that the United States will open its doors to 2,000 Syrian refugees. This follows a similar announcement from Canada just a couple months ago and daily news updates on how the humanitarian crisis for the refugees is growing more and more desperate.
Here is a quote from the FP exclusive:
The numbers are relatively small: just 2,000 refugees, compared to an estimated two million people who have fled Syria during the civil war. But it's a significant increase from the 90 or so Syrian refugees who have been permanently admitted to the U.S. in the last two years. And it's not entirely uncontroversial. The refugees, mostly women and children, will be screened for terrorist ties -- a process that could take a year or more to complete.
If nothing changes from this initial announcement (which is unlikely), we can expect to welcome new Syrian refugee families in the first half of 2014. My expectation, of course, is that there will be changes to this announcement. After the November elections, I expect that efforts will be made to make the US public more aware of how winter weather is making the Syrian crisis more intolerable. Perhaps by the end of the year or beginning of 2014, we may see a larger announcement. The Church needs to get ready to welcome these new neighbors!
If this is your first exposure to the issue, please read my primer article: "Bracing for the Syrian Tidal Wave: Preparation Points for North American Churches" as well as my "Open Letter to Displaced Syrians". If you are hungry for more, you can check out everything I've posted on the Syrian refugee crisis here.