U.S. Senate Unanimously Passes SJR 17 to Help Protect Iraqi Christians, but Measure May Stall in Committee

( [email protected] ) Aug 22, 2014 06:01 PM EDT
Iraq Christians
A 2010 demonstration in support of persecuted Christians in Iraq (Image credit: Eddie Potros/Flickr)

The Capitol Resource Institute (CRI) is calling on President Obama to allow more Iraqi Christians to seek refuge from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the United States. Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 17 is meant to help protect religious freedoms and Iraqi Christians from genocide. The measure has passed in the Senate unanimously, but is currently being held by the Assembly Rules Committee (ARC) and will likely die in the assembly unless Americans plea with committee members to take action on it.

SJR 17 unanimously passed in the Senate earlier this week, and must be voted on by the Assembly Rules Committee before August 29 or it will die in the committee. The resolution would "urge President Barack Obama's administration to expedite visa processing for Iraq's minority groups and to lift the refugee quota cap for Iraqi-Christians in order to streamline the process of accepting them into the United States as refugees." It would also urge the Department of State to work the Iraqi and Kurdistan governments to help Iraqi refugees, and to protect religious minorities from ISIS.

California Senator Anderson has been told that the ARC does not plan to take action on the measure. "We need to call upon the President to take a stand to protect Christians, and religious freedom around the world," says the CRI. The organization urges Americans to call Assemblyman Richard Gordon at (916) 319-2024 or (650) 691-2121 and Toni Atkins at (916) 319-2078 or (619) 645-3090 to plea with them to pass SJR 17.

"Let's make our voices heard for the persecuted who are unable to speak for themselves. Call. And keep calling. Forward to your family and friends so they can stand with us," they say.