WASHINGTON, DC — This week, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) met with His Grace Bishop Armash Nalbandian, primate of the Armenian Church of Damascus, who is in the United States with several other Syrian Christian leaders to discuss the plight of Syria’s Christians.
“Bishop Nalbandanian and his colleagues described the extreme insecurity and fear of their people and asked Congress and the President to speed the disbursement of aid to the millions of Syrians who have suffered from the civil war, but remain in Syria,” said Schiff. “The Bishop’s report echoes what I have been hearing from other sources about the disparity in resources directed to Internally Displace Persons (IDPs) and those who have escaped to one of the neighboring states.
“I have been focused on Syria and the plight of Christians there since the start of the uprising against Bashar Assad. We must continue to press for greater assistance and to permit the humanitarian parole of Syrians with approved immigrant petitions to the United States, many of whom are Christians.”
Reps. Schiff and Frank Wolf (R-VA) wrote last year to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) urging the use of humanitarian parole – which would provide a temporary visa for those in an emergency situation – to the estimated six thousand Syrian nationals’ cases with approved immigrant petitions. This would allow Syrians who have been waiting for a visa to reunite with their family members in the United States without delay. Of the fleeing refugees, members of religious minorities, including the country’s Christian population, are especially at risk, and many have sought refuge in the United States.