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Why So Few Syrian Christian Refugees? For the Same Reason You Can’t Find Orphans in Haitian Orphanages

It seems bewildering that President Obama insists on opening the floodgates to Syrian Muslim immigrants even after the Paris terrorist attacks. It gets stranger. Ten percent of Syria is Christian, but on Obama’s watch, only about 2.5% of recent Syrian refugees have been Christian, and this even though — unlike their Muslim compatriots — Syrian Christians have nowhere in the Middle East they can go to be wholly free of persecution.

So why the stacked deck? No, Barack Hussein Obama is not secretly bowing toward Mecca five times a day on an Oval Office rug. There are almost no Christian refugees from Syria for the same reason there are almost no orphans in Haitian orphanages.

The Curious Case of the Orphanless Orphanage

That’s not a misprint. Orphanages are one of the last places you’ll find a real orphan in Haiti. I learned this when I was working on a documentary called Poverty, Inc., which (shameless plug coming) just won the 2015 Templeton Freedom Prize. We were in Port-au-Prince interviewing an evangelical couple who had moved down there a few years earlier to start an orphanage and adopt a child. They began by visiting some orphanages to learn the ropes and had even found an orphan child to adopt.

But then one day they asked about the nice Haitian lady who was coming every weekend or so to play with the little kid. Oh, that’s the child’s mother, one of the staff explained. The American couple was shocked. They thought they were adopting a true orphan, a child whose mother and father were dead or irretrievably lost and gone. But here was a loving mom, showing up every few days to dote on her child.

It turns out the mother brought the child to the orphanage because she was broke and didn’t want one more mouth to feed. The American couple, Corrigan and Shelley Clay, started investigating and found that this was typical. The vast majority of the kids in the orphanages weren’t true orphans. Each of them had one or two living parents, often ones who cared about them and stayed in contact.

We followed up by interviewing anthropologist Timothy Schwartz. He had lived in Haiti for some two decades, had published academically on Haiti and written the book Travesty in Haiti: A True Account of Christian Missions, Orphanages, Fraud, Food Aid and Drug Trafficking. As he explains in the documentary, he was paid to investigate the Haitian orphanage situation for a major international non-profit and was surprised to find that he couldn’t find any orphans in the orphanages.

Eventually, he says, it all made sense. Being an “orphan” in an American orphanage is a coveted spot. It means three meals a day, a decent bed, school and books, maybe even an adoption to the United States, which then means the “orphan” can eventually grow up to send money home to his parents.

And because it’s a coveted position, the last person with the connections and resources to navigate his…

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