The Refugee Ban (Christine Sniegowski, 2/17-2/22 Discussion)

The current administration of Donald Trump has pushed for a tighter control on immigration as a major policy focus. From the building of “the wall” between Mexico and the United States to a travel ban on refugees and visitors from certain Muslim based countries, it seems that we are attempting to make it extremely difficult for someone to come to the United States, even though for some of them it is a case of life or death as they are fleeing wars, gang violence and famine.

The following is an article that summarizes the ban and what it means for refugees attempting to enter the United States.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/28/trump-immigration-ban-syria-muslims-reaction-lawsuits
It’s important to note that the ban has been stayed by the federal courts at this time, though the Trump administration vows to fight back to get the ban enforced.

The theological issue at hand is whether or not we are morally obligated to assist and welcome those refugees to our country. Being a relatively young country, it is safe to say that unless you are of Native American descent that more than likely your family immigrated to the United States at some point during the last 300 years. Or you may actually be a visitor from another country on a student visa.

From Dei Verbum we have learned that God’s intent has been made clear to us in the teachings of the bible. Dei Verbum also recognized the need to make God’s word available to ALL people, in all languages so that they might read and understand God’s wish for humanity. Some of the bible verses that seem applicable to our responsibility to help those in need, especially foreigners, are below:

“‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me’” (Matthew 25:35-40)

Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt. (Exodus 23:9)

“As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name— for they will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when they come and pray toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name. (1 Kings 8:41-44)

Also, we read last week in the Book of Matthew that Jesus and his parents fled persecution from King Herod and received sanctuary in Egypt from their oppressor. Are we not obligated to likewise offer sanctuary?

Discussion Questions:
Is our immigration process too onerous for those desiring to enter and live in the United States?
Do we have a moral obligation as a country to accept immigrants fleeing from war torn countries or famine?
Does the separation of church and state remove any such moral obligation to us as individuals?

16 thoughts on “The Refugee Ban (Christine Sniegowski, 2/17-2/22 Discussion)”

  1. I believe that when it comes to immigration a country is justified in wanting to prevent illegal immigration and work to help individuals join another country through legal methods (nothing wrong with wanting things done right by law). I do also believe that the Trump’s Muslim ban was both immorally wrong and very racial motivated. According to the Bible and other text from class we know that Christianity promotes love and equality; we all came from the same earth so we should all be treated the same. For a religious standpoint there is no grounds for a such a ban. And with government separated from religion, they have no obligation to fulfill the Christian opinion, but I believe that the government official should bring that equality to laws. The President should not directly discriminate against seven countries just because some members of that country were apart of radical terrorist groups. If someone wants to seek asylum here in America, they should be allowed out of the grace of our country; we are all equal and we should be treated as such.

    1. Expanding on my comment I wonder how this ban works with God’s laws. In Exodus, God tells the Hebrews to be nice to foreigners (because they were once slaves). Does banning Muslims from America violate this law? Even though the Christians choose not to adhere strictly to the laws does that still justify it on a religious level? Should people be punished for mistreating foreigners for a Biblical and/or a moral reason? Or should their be no punishment?

    2. I agree with you that everyone should be welcome because we should all be treated equally, no matter our race or religion, etc. Discrimination because of stereotypes is so ignorant and it needs to be stopped, immediately.

  2. I definitely believe our immigration process is extremely…difficult on those desiring to enter our country. A lot of people see the U.S. as a place of opportunities and often seek to come here for better jobs to support their families. To me it seems as if the U.S. fails to recognize that a majority of the people coming here, are coming for good and because they believe in the U.S. and not necessarily coming to harm us.

    With that being said, I do believe that we have a moral obligation to accept fleeing immigrants. Now, what does it mean to have morals, though? In this context, focusing on what is HUMANE, to have morals is to help and accept those individuals seeking our help….that would be the right thing to do.
    I also think about like if we are stationing ourselves in other countries and protecting the civilians there….what is the problem with protecting the civilians coming here? We should consider the fact that they feel safer here and embrace that! In rejecting the oppressed, we kind of show our moral stand point.

    As individuals, it is up to us to stand up for what we believe in. The law doesn’t necessarily instill morality in us, so therefore it’s not removing any morality. It may alter our views and perceptions, but as individuals we should aim to act on rights given to us (such as the First Amendment) and stand for what we believe in.

  3. This is a hard topic to tackle for sure. Ultimately I would say that it is not the “job” of the U.S.A. to house refugees. Although I do believe in freedom and the fact that most if not all of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants. I don’t necessarily believe that it is right for us not to accept them but I’m not also going to say that it is 100% wrong for us not to either. I think that there needs to be middle ground somewhere, what that is I’m not sure. I believe that any race, culture, or nationality that enters the U.S. needs to do it legally and work through the process that we have in order. If the individual has walked through the process of becoming a citizen or obtaining a visa ect, I fully support them coming over!

    As far as Christianity and the Bible goes, I do not really believe that it really has it’s place in this debate or in many other debates in government. I say this because most of our politicians, are not Christians, so how can we expect them to follow God’s laws and morals of the Bible if they don’t believe it themselves? At one point, in the very beginning, our country was a God fearing nation and most if not all of the politicians were Christians, according to history, and I may have expected them to follow God’s rules. Bu not so much now.

  4. I believe that we as a country are obligated to help immigrants. I believe that Trump is a hypocrite, because his wife was an immigrant as well. The Muslim ban as well was morally wrong. The immigration process is a lot to go through. It takes years to receive a citizenship and I believe that that is too strenuous. I think the state and church are separate, but I just wish people weren’t so evil. If someone wants to come to our country for a better life, then they should.

  5. Yes I strongly believe that our immigration process is too difficult for those desiring to enter and live in the United States. I have family from Jamaica and most of them have never came to visit me because it’s either too hard to get their visa accepted, or too expensive. Sometimes they do the process, pay so much money to get what they need to do so, just to get a “no” thrown in their face. The process is ridiculous. Immigrants fleeing from war torn countries or famine should be able to live in the U.S. I have sympathy for them because they are going through a lot, especially is the families have children, I know they’re going through some hard times. The separation of church and state does not remove any such moral obligation to us as individuals, because it states that everyone has equal rights. I stand very strongly by this statement because I see that people are not being treated equal everyday (on the news) mainly because of their religion or the color of their skin, and it truly makes me sad.

  6. The immigration office has definitely has made entering to the united states harder under the new administration. I do believe as a country that was built on immigration we have a moral obligation to accept immigrants. United States was built on immigrants and to turn back and ban it I think is unethical. speaking from an immigrant point of view, we didn’t choose to flee our country. we didn’t leave the country we love, our language and culture we are forced to flee because of war and many other reasons.

  7. Under the new “President,” the citizens of the US have caused an uproar, especially about the new laws that he is trying to place. Although the US is not technically obligated to accept refugees for other immigrants, our country was built on immigrants which is hypocritical of our “president.” I believe that the immigration process is a bit onerous but immigrants go through that process anyways in order to avoid going back to their original countries. People see on the news that more and more immigrants are being deported each day but what they don’t see is the pain that they’re going through as they’re separating from their families that they managed to have here, the process may be long and difficult but immigrants go through the process anyways.

    1. I completely agree with you, this country was built on immigrants and people also seeking refuge. For so many families to be risking their lives to come to this country, that must mean that there is a big problem in their original country. The process is way too long for people to go through. Speaking from my personal experience it took about 7 years for my family to be granted asylum and we still have to wait 5 more years for our citizenship even though we have been here for 16 years.

  8. everyone should be welcomed. I think that’s what God would want us to do. even though the immigrants are different races in God’s eye we are all the same. We are not here for vacation or just for fun. We are here because we were seeking for better life rather than war and many other problems so that should be considered when immigrants are being pushed away from countries when they seek for peaceful space to live.

  9. You guys bring up a good point, that the United States was first built on immigrants! We should not betray that and ban people from coming in! As someone noted, it’s not like refugees want to come here and “take our jobs” or stuff like that…most often than not they are facing some turmoil in their motherland and seek a better lifestyle, ultimately ending up in the States.

  10. I agree that the United States was built on immigration therefore it is part of our obligation to welcome and help those in danger even if they are not originally from here. The United States has a major influence not only in our country but all the countries around the world. As a country even without religion it is our moral right to help others who seek help. There was no reason for our current president to even introduce this ban as it is inhumane and immoral. This nation was founded on immigrants and has only prospered because of that since.

  11. I believe that we should accept all immigrants into the U.S. with the proper checking of course. I mean that for all immigrants. When religion is brought into it I feel as if though there becomes even more of a standard of doing it because of the Golden Rule. I think that people should simply do it because it is the right thing to do and helping others will result in good things happening back to the U.S.

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