Hoyer On Helping Christians Escape Genocide in Syria: ‘I Don’t Think The Criteria Ought to be on Religion’

By Penny Starr | June 7, 2016 | 2:02pm EDT
(AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who voted for a resolution recognizing that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is committing genocide against Christians in Syria, said he did not think Syrians should be given refugee status based on their religion.

At press briefing on Capitol Hill, CNSNews.com asked Rep. Hoyer: “You voted for the resolution stating ISIL is committing genocide against Christians in Syria. Yet, of the more than 1,000 refugees the U.S. admitted from Syria in May, only 2 were Christian and the rest were Muslims. What specifically are you proposing to help Christians seeking to escape ISIL’s genocide?”

Hoyer answered: “Well, I don’t think the criteria ought to be on religion, contrary to Mr. Trump. Criteria ought to be on their--first of all, I think we need to take more people who are fleeing for their safety--the safety of themselves and their families and we ought to apply fair criteria. Certainly not based upon religion.”

In March, Hoyer voted for House Resolution 75 that declares that "the atrocities perpetrated by ISIL against Christians, Yezidis, and other religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide."

After Hoyer said he did not think there should be a religious criteria for Christian refugees who are fleeing genocide, CNSNews.com asked: “Do you have a specific – any kind of legislation or something specific?"

Hoyer said: “I don’t have any legislation. I think existing law – but I would think that we need to be – we’re also concerned about the people in the triangle – El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – very dangerous countries. We have been urging that there be a fair process, with folks represented by competent counsel to make their case that they are fleeing death or serious bodily injury or incarceration for no reason other than the fact that they want to get out of the country.”

As reported by CNSNews.com on June 1, the number of Syrian refugees admitted into the United States jumped to 1,037 during May –  an increase of 130 percent over the previous month. But only 2 of the refugees were Christians while 1,035 Muslims.

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