On Friday, January 27th, Trump signed an executive order banning refugees from seven of the most war-torn countries in the world: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.
Some would say it is dangerous to accept refugees, pointing to rare crime and radical terrorism. But America is not a country motivated by paranoia. It’s a country built with stones of justice and mortar of mercy atop a plateau of freedom--built, in fact, by immigrants. This is the land where we’d rather let someone who may have committed a crime go free, rather than risk locking away someone who just might be innocent.The same principle applies to refugees: better to risk exposure to a ‘dangerous’ radical rarity than to abandon millions of innocent victims.
Our constitution states that we believe it to be a self-evident truth that all people are entitled to rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It does not read, “all Americans are created equal”. It doesn’t say “inalienable American rights”. It says all. If we put up walls rather than bridges--if we huddle in the comfort of our homes, roads, literacy, blankets, air conditioning, food--if we shut out the starving and shrapnel-ridden bodies of men, women, and children simply because of their birthplace--we are betraying our humanity and the Constitution itself. If we simply shut the door, plug our ears, and say, “It’s not my business”, then we are no better than Scrooge in Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol”, who went on to say, "It's enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people's."
If this is our nation’s mentality, sooner or later, each of us will find ourselves haunted by the consequences of our selfish apathy, and we will wail, just as Marley’s ghost did, “Mankind was my business! The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business!” We can’t just stand by as bombs shatter civilian houses, as babies shiver motherless, as women are violated and books are burnt, all in the name of isolationism. It’s wrong. The blood and tears shed by innocent people across the sea will wash upon our shores unless we do something to help them.
Like Martin Luther king said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. There is no perfect solution to poverty or war, but we can put forth a perfect effort into helping its victims. We must not shut them out. When our children’s children read history books, will they remember our decade as one that condemned millions of sufferers to remain in the prison of a war zone? Will they remember you as someone who sat still or stayed silent as leaders dug trenches into what was once a sanctuary for the persecuted? How will history paint you?
Speak up on behalf of those who can’t help themselves. It’s your inalienable right to do so.