Thursday, September 06, 2018

Dramatic Slowdown In Approval of Refugee Status For Iranian Christians

Yesterday's Los Angeles Times reports on the massive slowdown in U.S. approvals of refugee status for Iranian Christians and other Iranian religious minorities (such as Mandaeans) who are applying under the Lautenberg-Specter program. The slowdown began in late 2016. In the first quarter of fiscal 2018, only 29 Iranians were admitted under the program, compared to 1,061 in the first quarter of 2017.  Under the program, refugees with a U.S. sponsor travel to Vienna where they typically have encountered only a 3 to 6 month wait. the State Department says the slowdown stems from enhanced security check procedures apparently instituted under the Obama administration.  In July in Doe v. Nielsen, (ND CA, July 10, 2018), a California federal district court ordered the Department of Homeland Security to provide the reasons for denial of their applications to 87 Iranian refugees in Austria.