by Made Baldwin, Contributing Writer
I am not a Muslim and I am not a first generation immigrant, but I wholeheartedly oppose the issues arising from the current refugee crisis coupled with President Trump’s recent immigration ban.
There is a deep layer of fear and hate running through many people in America that is controlling their actions, and I see the ban ordered by Trump as an outcome of that fear and hate. Masked under the guise of “safety,” this ban goes against the Constitution and seems to be both racially and religiously motivated.
Trump’s immigration ban is set to keep people from entering the United States from seven different countries for 120 days. According to CNN, within the first day the ban snared both green card holders and people with valid visas. Some travelers who were in the air when Trump signed the order weren’t able to enter the country when they landed. Some were detained, while others were sent back to where they flew in from.
These circumstances should not only be up for debate morally, but spiritually, as well. When we close our doors on the people fleeing war in other countries, we are telling the millions of affected women, children and men that we don’t care about them. The United Nations High Commissions for refugees states that “we are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. An unprecedented 65.3 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 21.3 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.”
Without providing alternative solutions for these people, we are likely condemning them to die. When we choose not to help, our actions show that we are okay with what is happening. God makes it clear that we are to love others. Mark 12:31 states, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Imagine if it were you. Fleeing from war and separated from your family. Imagine if bombs were dropped on your city and rubble littered your streets. Your neighbors and friends are all gone. All you want is to survive but because of where you live you’ve been labeled as a potential terrorist, when in reality you’re just trying to escape from terror. How would you feel? When we stop viewing refugees as people, we’re delegitimizing the validity of the world they live in every day.
God’s love is woven throughout his word, self and creation. Keeping in mind this great love, as Christians, how can we justify our country’s actions? How can we justify the fact that we have stopped seeing people and are instead categorizing them by religion, race and where they live? Muslims and refugees are not our enemies. They are people and our neighbors, and should be treated so.
Trump’s hate and fear is being hidden behind a mask of concern for the safety in America. He is calling this 120 day ban “extreme vetting,” and it is certainly that. It is extreme to the point of being unnecessary. It often takes up to two years of vetting to be accepted as a refugee. Jeh Johnson, the former secretary of Homeland Security, said, “Of all the different ways to enter this country as an immigrant, doing so as a refugee is probably the most cumbersome and time consuming.”
Terrorism — and in fact, the fear of terrorism — is effective at inspiring panic and dread in us. It’s good at clouding our judgment and making us hurt even more people. However, according to the Global Terrorism Database, Americans are far more likely to die by choking on food or drowning while taking a bath than at the hands of a jihadist-inspired attack. Based on 10-year averages from 2006 to 2015, an average of only 2.6 Americans died per year in attacks by foreign-born, jihadist-inspired perpetrators, while 1,086 Americans died per year due to choking on food.
Our society is plagued by fear, but God takes that all away. I John says that there is no fear in love and that instead, perfect love casts out fear. If we place our faith in God, God will take care of us. Love is a mighty force in this world, and I urge you to use it in every situation with all of your being. Love is our most powerful weapon in the face of adversity and the only one that can save us.