While President Donald Trump is taking to twitter to rant over his proposed Muslim refugee ban, groups in Texas that help resettle asylum seekers say there is something strange going on behind the scenes.
Anne Marie Weiss-Armush with DFW International tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI, since March 1, there has been a near stoppage of Muslim refugees from countries like Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and East Africa. At the same time, they've seen a four-fold increase in Iranian Christian refugees this year.
Her concern is that these families have found the secret code to tell the government to get around the drastic cut in the number of refugees the U.S. will accept this fiscal year.
"The level of proof is very low. They may ask you what church you belong to and can you say a prayer, and that's it," she explains.
The Lautenberg Amendment gives precedence to refugees from the former Soviet Union and Iran who are fleeing religious persecution. In the 90's, Weiss-Armush says the largest groups arriving were Kurds from Iraq and Russian Jews. She has not heard any reports of Christian women being persecuted in Iran.
At the same time, she says embassies across the Middle East have stopped accepting refugee applications.
"They come in. They're told to come back next month. They are not processing refugees now."
According to the Pew Research Center, last October, more than 1,000 refugees resettled in Texas. Compare that to April, when 353 people did.
Thanks to a dispute with the Obama administration over background checks, the State of Texas pulled out of the federal refugee program. Since then, groups like DFW International have been running the program.
Days after a London terror attack killed seven people in London, President Trump took to twitter to rail against the stalled refugee ban.
“People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!” he wrote.