The admission of Christian refugees to the U.S. has dropped 43 percent in the past fiscal year, despite President Trump’s promise to protect vulnerable Christian populations across the globe, according to a Wednesday report from NBC News. Many of these Christians come from countries deemed a “security threat.” NBC News reports of the case of 87 Iranian refugees who are part of a program that, before Trump, had nearly a 100 percent admission rate, but are now trapped in “legal purgatory” in Austria. Many of the 87, some of whom are Muslim, were originally rejected for visas and successfully sued the Department of Homeland Security—and await revised decisions, which could arrive as soon as Wednesday. NBC notes that Christians from the Ukraine or other former Soviet republics have successfully obtained visas through the program while the Iranians wait.
The Trump administration has called helping religious minorities in the Middle East is a “top priority.” Advocates disagree: “Ironically, these policies, while clearly aimed at Muslim refugees, ensure that Christians and other religious minorities from many of the countries on Trump’s list of suspect travel ban nations are also kept out,” Mary Giovagnoli of Refugees Council USA told NBC. “It suggests that the president has no real interest in religious persecution or the tenets of religious freedom.”