The Trump Administration and Refugees

The Trump Administration and Refugees

By: Robert Scott

All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views  and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser

This past week has been filled with national news about the possible, indeed probable, impeachment of President Trump. All other news about the Trump administration has been virtually blotted out by that huge story. Unfortunately, that does not mean that other actions consistent with this administration’s record for the past two and a half years, have stopped.

For example, one news item last week was the announcement that the Trump administration intends to cut dramatically the number of refugees it will admit to the United States in the next fiscal year to just one-fifth of its usual number. Whether legal or not (there will doubtless be lawsuits to follow), this action is both ethically and politically wrong. It does not reflect the great history of our nation of immigrants, long a beacon of freedom for people throughout the world. Several churches and charitable organizations have lodged protests and asked their members to contact Congress to intervene. The rest of my OpEd this week is the Episcopal Church statement on the topic, quoted in full.

The Episcopal Church condemns the administration’s decision to reduce the number of refugees and further dismantle the refugee resettlement program. We also strongly condemn the decision to allow states and localities to reject refugees. The historic average for annual refugee admissions has been 95,000. The FY2020 determination of 18,000 refugees is the lowest in the forty year history of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ calls us to welcome the stranger and respect the dignity of every human being. Those fleeing persecution have a particular claim on our attention and concern as they seek a life of dignity and peace in the face of oppression.

“This decision will substantially hamper the vital work of Episcopal Migration Ministries to show the love of Christ to some of the most vulnerable people in the world” said The Rev. Dr. C.K. Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond The Episcopal Church. “There are millions of displaced persons around the world. The United States has a solemn obligation to do its part to aid this problem by showing generosity to refugees. Security and compassion are not mutually exclusive.”

Communities wholeheartedly value the opportunity to welcome refugees. Allowing states and localities to ban resettlement robs them of the myriad of benefits refugees bring wherever they go. It sends the wrong message to turn our backs on refugees who could enrich, strengthen, and revitalize our cities and towns.

Episcopal Migration Ministries, this church’s ministry of welcome to our refugee friends, has walked hand-in-hand with our refugee brothers and sisters for many years, helping smooth the transition to a new life here on our shores for more than 95,000 men, women, and children.

We urge Congress, and all people of goodwill, to make their voices heard in opposition to this decision. Since its founding as a nation the United States has stood as a beacon of hope for countless endangered members of God’s family. There is still room at the table for more of these precious children of God.