Sunday, September 13, 2015

At an informal Sunday School, discussion of the US response to refugee crisis

Today, without a teacher, we had a discussion of the European and Syrian refugee crisis in Sunday School.

The general tone of the conversation was to reflect the uncertainty already covered here.
Resettlement of a larger number of refugees than 10000 in the US is likely to be a hard sell politically, given existing immigration issues on the Mexican border, by way of comparison with Canada.

Much of the rhetoric critical of the US has been laced with emotion.  Refugees are not allowed in the US without some sort of vetting and background check (starting overseas).  It will be difficult to do this with large numbers of refugees in the tens of thousands. In Europe, it is not possible at all.

The US state department has a link explaining the process, here

   As in Canada, all refugees are placed with the help of a non-profit resettlement agency (when no relatives are available).  Some of these have church-affiliations.  It is likely that the number of these agencies will increase and more will form, and develop a presence on social media to find volunteers and hosts.  However, individual volunteers would also have to be vetted.  In Canada, there is supposedly a minimum of 5 volunteers before an organization can be active.  Similar requirements will probably develop in the US.

There was a sentiment that some volunteers who offer themselves or homes do so out of faith, and may not be as insistent as the government is on security vetting.  However, this could pressure other volunteers and cause tensions.

We are likely to hear a lot more about this in the coming weeks.

At church this morning (First Baptist of the City of Washington DC) there was a dedication of a child from a large extended family from Nigeria. There was an interesting sermon from Dan Hastey where he mentioned a remark from the former President Carter that many pastors should be concerned about the “tone” of their sermons and ministry, especially overseas.

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