Syrian Christians who are now living in Pennsylvania has expressed their support for President Donald Trump’s executive order that placed an indefinite ban on refugees from Syria.
Apart from the ban on Syrian refugees, the order also suspends admission of all refugees to the U.S. for 120 days and bars entry of citizens from Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen for 90 days.
Following the issuance of the order last week, some Syrian Christians in Pennsylvania have spoken out in support of the travel ban.
Elias Shetayh and Aziz Wehbey, both residents of Allentown, believe that Trump has made the right decision in banning refugees from predominantly Muslim countries.
“Trump is right, in a way, to do what he’s doing,” Shetayh told The Washington Post. “This country is going into a disaster,” he added.
Shetayh has lived in the U.S. for 46 years while his wife, Georgette has been in the country for 30 years. Wehbey came to the U.S in 1991 at the age of 19. The Shetayhs and Wehbey are now American citizens and supporters of Trump.
“We would not like to bring refugees for a simple reason: We do not know their background,” said Wehbey. “We’re concerned about, if God forbid a terrorist attack happened here . . . that we’re all labeled as bad people. I hate to say it,” he went on to say.
Not all Syrians in Allentown agree with Trump’s travel ban. Fouad and Mouna Younes, who came to the U.S. during the civil war, disagree with the president’s decision to stop accepting refugees, but they maintain that asylum seekers must be rigorously screened.
“These poor people are coming from war. For them to get here and all of a sudden to be told — and they’re legal and have visas — and all of a sudden you tell them, ‘You can’t come in. You have to go back’ — that’s a shame,” said Fouad.
Wehbey noted that the travel ban is only temporary and advised the people in the community to be patient.
Fouad said that he will not necessarily withdraw his support for Trump even if the refugee program is ended permanently.
Many in the community believe that exceptions will be made by the government for Syrian Christians, particularly those who already have family members living in the U.S.