Sunday, April 10, 2011

Small Decisions - Big Consequences

In a classic case of seemingly small decisions and unintended consequences, Christians in Iran have been endangered by the recent budget cutting in Congress. International Christian Concern has reported that in the midst of the budget cuts of the Republican-led Congress, Texas Representative Lamar Smith (R), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has proposed reviewing all judicial amendments in light of their budgetary impact. This would endanger the Lautenberg Amendment a Cold-War era piece of legislation which grants refugee status to persecuted Christians and Jews in the former USSR. This law was expanded in 2003 to include religious minorities in Iran.

The US grants asylum to many thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of refugees. These refugees receive small amounts of assistance in establishing themselves with other assistance given by non-governmental agencies and ministries. The refugees included in the Lautenberg Amendment are a tiny fraction of the total, but they are among the most vulnerable because other countries often do not recognize them as refugees. Oftentimes, the opportunity to emigrate to the US can make the difference between life and death for a Iranian Christian. This Amendment has never been controversial and its budgetary impact is tiny.

Repealing or even pausing this amendment could put lives at immediate risk.

Please consider calling Rep. Smith's office and asking him to not include the Lautenberg Amendment in any legislative review and leave it in effect. Sen. Smith's number is 202-225-4236. His staff is very nice.

Also, you could call your Congressional Representative and ask them to support the Amendment by leaving it in effect and not submitting it to review. It would be helpful if your representative called Sen. Smith's office as well.

Representative Tom Graves (GA) (202) 225-5211
Representative Chuck Fleischmann (TN) (202) 225-3271

Read more at International Christian Concern.

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