A bipartisan view: Migrants will want this man

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Have you ever seen someone die of starvation? It is impossible to erase the image from one’s mind. In 1984 we traveled to Ethiopia to witness the famine that was ravaging the country, leaving thousands dead in its wake. While in the camps, we saw young children suffering from starvation — some dying in their mother’s arms. Witnessing the level of pain and suffering that our brothers and sisters were experiencing broke our hearts and woke us up. It gave us a new perspective that forever altered the course of our lives and our political careers.

Upon our return to Washington, we were motivated to work and pray together on behalf of those who were suffering. Through these efforts, we came to understand that in order to achieve most anything in this town one must be willing to reach across the aisle. This is how we, a Virginia Republican and an Ohio Democrat, became not only best friends but fellow advocates.

{mosads}From that time on, we dedicated our time in Congress to working together, coming alongside vital partners, to help alleviate human suffering around the world. It is through this work that we came to know Ken Isaacs, vice president of programs and government relations for Franklin Graham’s organization, Samaritan’s Purse, and President Trump’s nominee to be the next director general of the International Organization on Migration (IOM).


During his time working for the aid organization, Isaacs assisted people from all walks of life who were fleeing famine, war, natural disasters and religious persecution. With 34 years of proven experience in some of the world’s most bleak and hostile places, we have no doubt that Isaacs will do an excellent job as director general of the IOM.

During the Ebola outbreak in 2014, Isaacs worked with the Samaritan’s Purse staff on the ground to provide the Liberian people with the resources necessary to containing the epidemic. It is estimated that over 10,000 individuals were infected and over 4,500 were killed by the devastating disease. During this time, Isaacs never relented in his passion to help those who were suffering. Even now, four years on, Samaritan’s Purse continues to help the people of Liberia rebuild their lives.

Additionally, in August 2017, one of us traveled to northern Iraq and visited the emergency field hospital that Isaacs and the Samaritan’s Purse team deployed in January 2017. According to Samaritan’s Purse, by March of 2017 the hospital had seen more level-1 trauma patients than some large U.S. hospitals see in a year. Even though Samaritan’s Purse is a Christian organization, the majority of the victims treated at the hospital came from a Muslim faith background and included some known ISIS fighters.

Isaacs consistently returned the hatred of a group such as ISIS with compassion, a quality we know he holds near to his heart. Even in August, a month after the liberation of Mosul, the hospital staff continued to treat patients — including children who had been maimed by improvised explosive devices. By the time Samaritan’s Purse transferred the field hospital to the Iraqi Ministry of Health in September 2017, they had treated nearly 4,200 patients and performed over 1,700 surgeries. Countless lives would have been lost had it not been for Isaacs, the Samaritan’s Purse personnel and medical staff who came to the aid of those in desperate need.

According to a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees report, there are more than 65.5 million people displaced from their homes as a result of war, famine, natural disasters or economic conditions. America and the world need a strong leader at the IOM capable of tackling this crisis. We can speak from personal experience that Isaacs is a dedicated humanitarian leader, serving the most vulnerable throughout the world regardless of their economic status, gender, race, religion or ethnic identity.

When others flee, he runs to the frontlines eager to assist those suffering. With 34 years of experience, Isaacs’ devotion to humanitarian assistance has stood the test of time. For these reasons, we believe that Isaacs deserves our support to continue his distinguished career of global humanitarian service as the new director general for the IOM.

Tony P. Hall served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Food Agencies in Rome from 2002-2006 and in Congress from 1979-2002, representing Ohio’s 3rd District. Frank R. Wolf served in Congress, representing Virginia’s 10th District, from 1981-2015.

Tags Christianity Donald Trump Famine Franklin Graham Humanitarian aid Ken Isaacs Samaritan's Purse Suffering

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