Friday, October 28, 2016

3rd Circuit Judge Questions Religious Mix of Syrian Refugees

In Heartland Alliance National Immigrant Justice Center v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, (7th Cir., Oct. 21, 2016), the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in a Freedom of Information Act case upheld the government's refusal to disclose to an advocacy group for asylum seekers the names of so-called "Tier III terrorist organizations." Judge Daniel Manion filed a concurring opinion with extensive dicta questioning the religious mix of Syrian refugees who have been admitted to the country.  He said in part:
I write separately for a second, critical reason, which is my concern about the apparent lack of Syrian Christians as a part of immigrants from that country. It is possible that our case bears a direct link to this enigma.  It is well‐documented that refugees to the United States are not representative of that war‐torn area of the world. Perhaps 10 percent of the population of Syria is Christian, and yet less than one‐half of one percent of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States this year are Christian.... To date, there has not been a good explanation for this perplexing discrepancy.
This is not to suggest that any refugee group is more or less welcome: quite the contrary. The good people of this country routinely welcome immigrants from all over the world. But in a democracy, good data is critical to public debate about national immigration policy.
The Daily Signal reports on Manion's opinion.