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Giving Compass' Take:
• There is a credible threat to the health and safety of religious minorities who previously fled Iran that the United States should take into consideration.
• How can individuals offer political, financial, and logistical support to these refugees in order to protect them? What policy improvements can be made to prevent similar situations in the future?
• Learn why people come to the United States.
Scores of members of Iranian religious minorities left their homeland more than a year ago at Washington’s invitation with the intention of coming to America. But now they may be barred from the U.S. for security reasons and could be placed in imminent danger of deportation back to the Islamic dictatorship – where they likely would face persecution, or even imprisonment and death.
This crisis began in fall 2016 when 87 members of Iran’s repressed religious minority communities were selected to benefit under the Lautenberg Amendment – a process initially adopted to rescue Jews from the former Soviet Union and expanded in 2004 for Iran’s religious minorities.
After a preliminary review of their cases, the minority members – ranging from Armenian and Assyrian Christians to Mandeans and Zoroastrians – were invited to travel to Vienna, Austria for final vetting before resettlement in the U.S. Soon after arriving in Vienna, however, they were put on a security hold, and last month were finally rejected for undisclosed security reasons by the U.S. Homeland Security Department.
To resolve this tragic situation and salvage critical U.S. policy goals, Ambassador Brownback should:
- Ensure a case-by-case security review for each of the 87 refugees barred from the U.S.
- Prevent anyone’s forcible return to Iran, even after rejection in an Austrian asylum adjudication.
- For those denied, find a humane solution in a third country – after all, for humanitarian reasons, Bermuda agreed to take Chinese Uighur terrorists from the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo, Cuba, after the Uighurs were captured in Afghanistan. So a similar plan could be created for the 87 refugees.
Read the full article on Iranian refugees by Nina Shea at Hudson Institute