A federal judge has rebuked the Obama administration over the lack of Syrian Christians being admitted from the war-zone, calling it a "perplexing discrepancy" that only 56 of 11,000 Syrian refugees to the U.S. in fiscal 2016 were Christian.
The rebuke came in a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals opinion on a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by The Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center – a liberal human rights group that advocates for immigrants and asylum-seekers -- seeking information on certain terror groups.
As first reported by attorney and former FEC member Hans von Spakovsky for The Daily Signal, while the court found in favor of the government, Judge Daniel Manion addressed the refugee issue and took aim at the Obama administration over how few Christians had been admitted to the U.S.
“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,” he wrote.
According to government figures, of the almost 11,000 Syrian refugees admitted to the United States in fiscal 2016, only 56 were Christian.
“To date, there has not been a good explanation for this perplexing discrepancy,” Manion noted.
The numbers are disproportionate to the Christian population in Syria, estimated last year by the U.S. government to make up roughly 10 percent of the population. Since the outbreak of civil war in 2011, it is estimated that between 500,000 and 1 million Christians have fled the country, while many have been targeted and slaughtered by the Islamic State.
Manion qualified his remarks by saying that his point “is not to suggest that any refugee group is more or less welcome: quite the contrary” but warned the Obama administration against failing to provide states with enough data on the people coming in.
In the case, the NIJC was requesting the identities of Tier III terrorist organizations, which are not publicly available. The administration argued that Tier III terrorist organizations “tend to be groups about which the U.S. government does not have good intelligence, making it essential that [DHS] be able to obtain information about them during screening interviews that are as focused and complete as possible.”
Manion noted that potential ties to a Tier III organization like a Christian militia may be why the government is not letting in as many Christians, but that it was impossible to tell since the information is not publicly available.
“It is at least possible that incidental affiliation with some Christian militia could lead an immigration officer to deny entry to Syrians on this basis. That would be a dubious consequence,” he wrote.
A State Department spokesperson told FoxNews.com in September that religion was only one of many factors used in determining a refugee’s eligibility to enter the United States.