Over the past two years, many refugee advocates have urged the U.S. to return to a time in her history when we welcomed refugees simply because it was the right thing to do. They nostalgically recall a time when we welcomed the downtrodden and persecuted as humanitarians, rather than using them as political pawns. Unfortunately, though, what these advocates recall is a myth and not a historical reality. Those who truly care about the plight of more than 25 million refugees around the world, must rightly remember America’s refugee resettlement history if we are to move forward into a more compassionate future.Read More
Twitter is not real life, I remind myself as I spend my lunch break scrolling through feeds often filled with vitriol and rage, where the loudest voices appear to be the most numerous. After a disheartening foray into a world where anyone can share their hate-filled opinions without the accountability of human contact, I return to my desk. I return to telling the stories of resilient immigrants and courageous refugees, and the selfless compassion of churches and individuals who sacrifice their time, talent, and resources to welcome them into their communities.
I look up from my keyboard and out into the parking lot. I see an older white man, probably in his sixties, gingerly toting a covered infant car seat toward the building entrance. He pauses to glance behind himself, and from behind a parked car hurries a petite African woman, a length of bright floral fabric carefully wrapped and tucked around her waist. She catches up to the elderly man, and together they walk inside for an appointment with a caseworker.
This is the story I am invested in telling, the story of strangers becoming family, unexpected and beautiful.Read More
Earlier this week legislative solutions for Dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, once again failed to pass the Senate, falling short of 60 votes. While the vast majority of Americans, both Republican and Democrat, are in favor of providing Dreamers with a pathway to citizenship, President Trump has refused to sign a bill that does not also severely decrease legal immigration by limiting categories for family reunification (also called “chain migration”). When so many Americans support a legislative solution, it seems as though it shouldn’t be that difficult for Members of Congress to respect their constituents wishes and vote the legislation through. However, when it comes to immigration reform, many GOP Members of Congress aren’t listening to their constituents at all. Instead, they’re relying on the false “expertise” of anti-immigration lobby groups like the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), NumbersUSA, and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). These groups have presented themselves as concerned for the future of Americans, and have garnered the support of many pro-life Republicans. However, in reality they are at the forefront of radical population control, which is quite literally the opposite of being pro-life.Read More
“Make America Great Again” Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, so familiar to us now, is a battlecry of hope for some Americans, while for others it is a sinister harbinger of a less inclusive era. In the year since President Trump’s inauguration, countless opinions have been written to dissect his policies and measure his motives. And while it is still only possible for God to reveal what lies in a man’s heart, 2017 has shown us that many Americans are nostalgic for a time in our country’s past when they believe things were simpler. A time when globalization had not yet required us to live alongside people of other religions and cultures. A time when upholding your own values also meant upholding nearly everyone else’s.
Whether you too feel this same nostalgia, or are opposed to its very basis, Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration in an Age of Fear by Matthew Kaemingk is a book you need to read.Read More
Last week I gave you 30 ideas for welcoming refugees during the holidays. This week I want to talk through some important issues that you should be aware of if you plan to adopt one of those ideas for welcoming refugees at Christmas. This is not an exhaustive list of tips, by any means, but my hope is that they will get you thinking in a sensitive and nuanced way as you incorporate refugees and immigrants into your Christmas traditions.Read More
On October 24th, the 120 day moratorium on refugee resettlement established by President Trump’s first executive order (known as the “travel ban”) ended. The same day President Trump issued a new executive order imposing additional vetting procedures for refugees seeking resettlement in the U.S. and extending the moratorium on resettlement for refugees from 11 countries for another 90 days. The result has been a fresh wave of frustration from refugee advocates and ongoing accusations that the Trump administration is simply intent on keeping Muslim refugees out of the U.S. After sitting back and observing this response from my fellow refugee advocates, I have a few thoughts of my own concerning these new vetting procedures for refugees.Read More