US refugee agency damns Trump's travel ban as 'net loss' that hurt persecuted Christians

World Relief, one of America's largest refugee resettlement agencies, has released a statement that is damning of the Trump administration, one year after Trump's infamous 'travel ban' on refugees came into effect. The organisation said that needy refugees, including many Christians, had been denied 'a place of refuge and hope' in what was unequivocally a 'net loss' for the US.

'It has now been one year since the Trump administration issued an executive order preventing families fleeing tragic situations throughout the world admission to the United States as refugees,' World Relief's statement read.

'Thousands of men, women and children from countries such as Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Myanmar, who in years past would have found America to be a place of refuge and hope, have sadly been denied the opportunity to seek shelter on our shores this past year.'

Inside a refugee camp for the internally displaced in Idlib, Syria.Reuters

It noted that only 29,725 refugees have entered the US in the past year, compared with 99,183 in the year previous, and falling far short of the 'historically low' ceiling of 45,000 that Trump placed on refugee arrivals. The same period saw a decline of 27,000 in Christian refugees (63 per cent of the previous figure), and an 80 per cent fall in Muslim refugees. The agency said: 'The combination of drastically reducing the refugee arrivals ceiling with the various executive orders affecting refugees over the past year have harmed persecuted Christians as well as those of other faiths.'

It added: 'Make no mistake, this has been a net loss for our country. For centuries, families from around the world have made America their home after escaping horrors similar to the ones in countries that have been affected by various incarnations of the travel ban. These families have become an intricate part of the fabric of our country—working here, paying taxes here, raising their children here and sharing with all of us the amazing testimony of overcoming adversity.'

Trump's controversial executive order last year blocked travel and asylum to immigrants from seven majority Muslim countries, with critics saying it was essentially a 'Muslim travel ban'. World Relief said in February last year that it had to fire more than 140 staff because of the 'deeply troubling' move.

Today's statement added: 'Refugee families don't tear America apart, they make us stronger. They come to America, which President Reagan once described as a "shining city on a hill," and they make our light shine brighter.

'We pray that President Trump and elected officials from each side of the aisle would ensure that we remain a beacon of hope to ALL people seeking a better a way of life.'