Highlight: Are refugees safe?

As Christians, we are called to help those in need, but is it unsafe to bring refugees across our borders? Matthew Soerens of World Relief says that the danger of refugees is often overblown. He talks about some specific misconceptions that lead to this often unrealistic fear.

“I want to assure people that especially in the U.S. there’s not that much to fear. If we look at some of the fears and concerns people have, a lot of it is based on misconceptions.”

Who are they anyway?

“We’ve heard people say, well, we have no idea who these refugees are, we don’t have a process to vet them, and that’s just not accurate.”

World Relief has been partnering with the U.S. government since the 1970’s to resettle refugees.

“For every person we pick up at the airport we have a file on who they are, that comes from a thorough set of interviews that is done before they ever get on an airplane. In fact, that process of vetting and screening usually takes at least 18 months. It’s coordinated between the U.S. Departments of State Homeland Security and Defense, as well as the F.B.I. and the National Counterterrorism Center. It involves in-person interviews, and interviews with other people who can verify the story that this person is telling and make sure they’re telling the truth.”

All of these screenings are an effort to ensure the people are genuine refugees fleeing persecution. Matthew reminds us that since the 1970’s there has never been a terrorist attack perpetrated by any of the refugees that have sought safety in the United States.

“The reality is, the screening process is more thorough than any other vetting or screening process that any other category of visitor or immigrant to United States is required to undergo. I have a lot of confidence in that process, it’s appropriate that our government do that screening.”

He encourages Christians to push past the fear and take steps to help those refugees attempting to resettle in their community.

Matthew Soerens serves as the US Church Training Specialist for World Relief, which is the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals. In that role, he helps evangelical churches to understand the realities of immigration and to respond in ways guided by biblical values.

Key Scripture: Matthew 5

Featured Songs: Shoulders – For King & Country; Deeper – Meredith Andrews; Trust in You – Lauren Daigle

Seeking refuge