FoRB comment on Trump’s travel ban and refugee priorities

Links to some of the online comments following President Trump’s statements and actions on refugees and immigration:

  • Trump’s statement about giving Christians facing persecution priority as refugees (in TV interview last Friday) More
  • What Arab Church Leaders Think of Trump Prioritizing Persecuted Christian Refugees More
  • Evangelical Christian leaders: travel ban violates religious beliefs on refugees More
  • Iraqi patriarch: Fast track for Christian refugees will fuel tensions More
  • Trump travel ban leaves Iraq’s persecuted Yazidis in limbo More
  • Religious freedom is the greatest global weapon against terrorism More
  • Christian Leaders Denounce Trump’s Plan to Favor Christian Refugees More
  • Trump Halts Program to Bring Jewish, Christian, Baha’i Refugees from Iran More
  • Trump’s pledge to persecuted Christians – welcome news or harmful to those it seeks to protect? More

The order prioritizes Christian refugees

Upon the resumption of USRAP admissions, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.

As a general matter, this will give priority to Christian refugees over Muslim ones. Although framed in a neutral way, this part of the order may raise questions of religion-based discrimination. Trump has said he means to favor Christian refugees.

That violates the First Amendment’s ban on government establishment of religion, according to David Cole, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “One of the critical questions with respect to the validity of executive action challenged under the Establishment Clause is its intent and effect,” he wrote in a blog post. “If intended to disfavor a particular religion, it violates the Establishment Clause.”

[New York Times]