by The Cowl Editor on February 2, 2017
by Taylor Godfrey ’19
Asst. Opinion Editor
That is the number of immigrants currently living in the United States, according to the Center for Immigration Studies. Immigrants make up every part of life. They teach, they do research, and they are an integral part of American society. The United States was founded by immigrants like these. The nation is a melting pot, a country of diversity which has offered new hopes and opportunities for hundreds of years. Immigration is at the very core of the United States. Which is why it is so saddening to see new executive orders coming from the White House that are barring just that.
On Jan. 27, our president signed an executive order barring immigration for 120 days and banning people from Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen from entering the United States. The order has caused a lot of uproar and even more confusion as immigrants from these countries struggle to figure out if they are allowed back into the country and allowed home. Wherever they may have come from originally, for many people the United States is now their home, and they deserve to live here just as much as natural born citizens do.
It is not just casual visitors that are being blocked. Students and green card holding permanent residents were barred from entering the country after the order took effect. The fact that the original order does not take into account a person’s individual status in terms of holding a Visa or a green card disregards the system we have for immigration in favor of hasty decisions fueled by fear. The actual enforcement of this order has been shrouded in confusion. It is unclear how often or how strictly it is being enforced or what its fate will be after the orders from several federal judges condemning it.
But that is not even the heart of the issue. The huge, glaring problem is that this order was even written. Just as he said in his campaign promises, President Donald Trump has targeted predominantly Muslim countries. He has created a preference for Christian refugees in particular. But the United States has no state religion. The state is supposed to be separated from the church, and a Muslim life is worth just as much as Christian one—regardless of any orders that may come from the president.
Many of the people being denied access to the United States will be refugees. They will be fathers and mothers with nothing. They will be malnourished children who are scared and confused and above all need help. And if we refuse to help them we are just as bad as the people they are fleeing from. This order came from a place of hate and fear. With acts of violence all over the world being sensationalized in the news, it is no wonder that people are scared. But we cannot allow fear to give into hatred. One of the most important tenets in the Bible is to “love thy neighbor.”
This order does the exact opposite of that. It brews hatred and prejudice and gives in to bigotry and intolerance. This country barred Jewish refugees in the 1940s and effectively sent them to their deaths.
We must learn from our mistakes, and we must never make that mistake again.