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Report: Christians blocked from entering the U.S., sent back to Syria

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 01/29/17

Total time for the vetting process: 13 years.

From AFP:

Six Syrians including Christians were turned away from Philadelphia International Airport in the United States and sent back to Lebanon, an official at Beirut airport told AFP on Sunday.

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday prohibiting entry to the United States to all nationals of seven Muslim-majority states — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The ban also prohibits entry to all refugees, regardless of origin, for 120 days and indefinitely for refugees from Syria, which has been ravaged by a deadly war since 2011.

“Six people, including Syrian Christians, were turned back at Philadelphia airport on Saturday and were back in Beirut on Sunday,” the source in Lebanon said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

They then headed back to Syria.

The Lebanese official said three children were among those turned away at Philadelphia. Their journey had taken them via Doha in the absence of direct flights between Beirut and the United States since the 1980s, when Lebanon was in the middle of a civil war.

Read more.

From Philly.com, some additional details:

As for the two Syrian families who were sent back to the Middle East, a relative of theirs,  Sarah Assali, 25, of Allentown, said Saturday that they were traveling with immigrant visas and were approved for green cards. She said their efforts to enter the United States had been in the works since 2003 and that the families were approved to enter in 2015; they stayed back to spend the Christmas holidays in Syria, she said, or they would already have been here. …Her relatives weren’t fleeing Syria as refugees, she said. Her own immediate family members are U.S. citizens. “My family is Christian Orthodox,” she said. “I was born here. My mom came here when she was in eighth grade. My dad came in 1990.” “We signed the petition to bring them over [here] in 2003,” she said. “The vetting process went on. They were approved [immigrant visas] in 2015. They had to go first to Amman, Jordan, to get interviews and medical appointments to finalize the documentation. A few months ago, everything was approved and set. They chose to spend the holidays in Syria. They held off the flight for the holidays.”

Read it all. 

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