On Wednesday, Donald Trump, through executive orders, will once again make clear his administration’s plans for refugees and immigrants. Not only is he going forward with the wasting of funds by building a wall between Mexico and the United States, he is working to hinder and harm Syrian Refugees, going after anyone who gives them sanctuary as well as finding ways to deny such refugees any asylum in the United States. This is only the beginning of his policies for he indicates he will be considering draconian immigration reform which appears to include denial of immigration – or even visas — from many countries with a “Muslim Majority.”
Having an absolute ban on the admission of refugees, no matter how long it lasts, is going to lead to the death of many innocents. The reason why they are wanting to enter the United States, willing to risk everything to get here, is not just because their way of life is at risk, but their very lives will likely be lost if they stay where they are. During the reign of Hitler, when Jewish refugees were denied asylum in the United States, they were sent back to die, and the United States must take some of the blame for their deaths. It was known they were going to die, but the United States was willing for humans to be sacrificed for its own prosperity. Today we see so many continue with such a barbaric, anti-human attitude towards refugees, and whatever deaths which happen as a result of these policies will once again be our guilt to bear. The fear that some of these refugees might be terrorists, a security concern, is not new – it was one of many reasons why Jews were also denied asylum in the past; it is an excuse, a scapegoat so that people will not feel any guilt of many when they see so many innocents are sacrificed at the altar of “America First.”
Likewise, the desire to reject immigrants from lands which have a “Muslim Majority” demonstrates the same kind of xenophobic isolationism which denied Jews freedom in the 19th century. Jews were accused of international plots to take over the world (not just in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion), with their religious beliefs, practices, and books were read with a spin in order to justify such an insane fear. There are people, innocent, peaceful people, who would serve as great members of American society, if they were welcomes and respectfully treated instead of denigrated and feared. They need our help, our love, not our hate, for the hate will more likely turn our fear into reality as we turn would-be-friends into desperate enemies whose only goal is to survive another day.
Furthermore, the consequences of such immigration reform, moreover, will end up hastening the destruction of Middle Eastern Christianity. Christians needing help will also be denied visas and will not be allowed to immigrate to the United States. For decades, the United States has become the home of many such Middle Eastern Christians, but now such Christians will have to fend for themselves in their homeland, where persecution and death awaits them. Armenians, Coptics, Chaldeans, Maronites, Melkites, and the like, will all be denied immigration while their churches, seminaries, and whole populations, find themselves decimated by radical Isalmists.
Trump’s policy will therefore be shown to help, not hinder, those he claims to oppose, while hurting those very people who need our help the most. If we care about Christianity in the Middle East, we cannot reject their right to immigration, their right to seek a home where they can leave in peace and freedom. But it is not just Christians. It is anyone of good-will, from peace-seeking Muslims to Mandaeans to Zoroastrians – and even Jews — who currently live in the Middle East who will suffer as a consequence of an American-First isolationism. Sadly, we seem to not have learned our lesson from the past as it will not the first time such ideology has been used to support the eradication of populations by indifference. But it will be our sin of omission which we will have to face as the consequence of our indifference will allow true evil to hold sway as we stood around doing nothing to help the good.
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