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President’s visit shouldn’t ignore children in peril

During his visit Friday to Jordan, there's little doubt President Obama will praise it for its hospitality toward some 350,000 Syrian refugees. While praise and support for Jordan’s reception of many Syrian refugees is deserved, the president should not give Jordan a free pass when it comes to its forcible returns of Palestinian refugees to Syria.

During interviews we conducted in Jordan in January and February, a Syrian refugee told us what the Jordanian authorities said to him as he approached the border with his Palestinian wife:

‘You can come, but she is not allowed because she’s Palestinian.’ I told them our house is burned down and that we have no house to go back to. The Border Patrol officer said, ‘That is not our problem.’ I begged him. My wife and children were begging and crying not to be sent back. He said, ‘It is impossible,’ and put us in a military vehicle and took us to the border.

Jordan has made no secret of its policy. In October, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour publicly announced Jordan’s policy to reject Palestinian refugees from Syria when he told the Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat, “Jordan has made a clear and explicit sovereign decision to not allow the crossing to Jordan by our Palestinian brothers who hold Syrian documents.”

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