Rep. Chris Smith (R., N.J.) is fighting for Christian refugees who have been displaced by fighting in Iraq and Syria and demanding the United States do more to help.
The lawmaker serves as a senior member on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and is chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations. Promoting international human rights and religious freedom has been a staple feature of his tenure in Congress.
Christians are the largest religious minority group in the Middle East, yet Smith noted in an interview with TheBlaze published Friday that they receive little aid from the United States. Smith has now introduced legislation to attempt to rectify that with the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act. The legislation will provide for emergency aid to the victims of crimes against humanity in the war-torn countries.
In an interview with TheBlaze, Smith lamented the situation of Christian leaders who are working without U.S. dollars, given USAID doesn't benefit faith-based organizations, to help displaced minorities in the Middle East: "They're getting no help from the United States government, and that is not just baffling–it is disturbing, disappointing, and, frankly, outrageous."
Smith traveled over Christmas to Erbil, Iraq to visit many of these displaced civilians and meet with regional leaders. Smith noted the positivity of those he met and children singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus at a Christmas gathering.
Smith's legislation is cosponsored by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D., Calif.) and 15 other members of the House of Representatives.