Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Compassion for Immigrants and Refugees

Over the past few days we’ve heard a lot of buzz about Donald Trump’s Muslim ban.

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“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

– Emma Lazarus

If you haven’t heard already, President Trump, after his first few days in office — making extensive changes such as the Executive Order to build a wall at the U.S./Mexico Border as well as a required media blackout by the EPA — President Trump has ordered the suspension of all refugees and immigrants, from nations “including Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, and Libya for a time period of 90 days.” It “also calls for the complete suspension of Syrian refugees for an indefinite period of time.”

I’ve tried to be factual. I’ve tried to remain objective. But this particular issue is not one I can only deliver the facts on –- because the above are the only facts you need to know, and I cannot look at the photographs of Syrian refugees without feeling anything short of heartbreak. I cannot think about those who have started their lives in America, looking for opportunity, being subject to these rules — like this Ph.D. student who was taken off her flight on Saturday, all because her passport is registered in Sudan.

I don’t dispute that changes need to be made to our immigration system. I’m not saying that reform is not necessary. I’ve always said that good, law-abiding citizens have to pay the price for those who don’t do the right thing. But I’ve made that statement about trivial rules and laws that seem so irrelevant and selfish when looking at them in the big picture. That statement doesn’t even do this situation justice, but it’s the best I can do.

Those who are leaving a bad, violent, life-threatening situation to come to the land of opportunity where they will seemingly find safety, and those who are already living in the U.S. due to the opportunities it affords, should not be penalized due to the actions of terrorists who also happen to come from their home country. Period.

As a human being I am appalled. As a Catholic I am appalled, as President Trump professes to possess Christian values –- when the Sisters of Mercy (yes, real nuns) released a statement calling for pushback against “President Trump’s announcement on immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border that would tear families apart.” And while that’s not directly related to the action Twitter called the #MuslimBan, it relates to a more compassionate philosophy regarding immigration surrounding all countries.

In the midst of all of the upsetting news, we’ve seen more citizens fighting for what they believe is right and making their voices heard. Thousands gathered at New York’s JFK Airport in protest of the new orders. And politicians are speaking out, too — Federal Judge Ann M. Donnelly issued a Stay agains the “Muslim Ban,” “temporarily allowing people who have landed in the United States to return.”

As we saw with the Women’s March, many people coming together in defense of what they believe is right can make a huge impact. And those who truly have the courage of their convictions will not rest until they see change.

 

Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.

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