Written by Leanna Westerhof. Media by John Freeman.
Trump is already making waves in his first couple weeks of assuming the U.S. presidency. One of those waves, or maybe a tidal wave would be a more accurate description, is his immigration ban. Quickly dubbed as the “Muslim Ban” human rights activists, advocate groups, and Democrats are expressing their displeasure. His ban, signed January 27, affects citizens of seven different countries, all of whom are Muslim majority countries. These include: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia. Trump’s executive order bans citizens from these countries from entering the United States for the next 90 days and suspends the admission of refugees for the next 120 days since his order, and bans refugees from Syria indefinitely. Those who are barred from entering the United States include students, workers, visitors, new immigrants with immigrant visas, and refugees (with some exceptions made). People who are able to stay include green card holders and special immigrants, dual nationals and diplomats are also allowed.
Actions have been swift following this order with the holding of several foreigners and protests being organized. A federal district judge, James Robart in Washington State issued a nationwide order that lifts the travel ban the State Department and Department of Homeland Security suspended all actions implemented in the President’s executive order. Meaning that the President’s immigration ban is suspended…temporarily. Obviously, as a result of this nationwide ruling, President Trump is not happy and vowed to overturn the judge’s order.
The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2017
In the wake of this situation, attorneys and immigration supporters traveled and set up shop at U.S. airports John F. Kennedy and Dulles International to help the immigrants affected by this ban. And now, there continues to be the possibility that this case will go to the Supreme Court for ruling. And based on past precedents set by the court, the law may favor Trump. The courts have traditionally approved the chief’s powers to deny foreign immigrants into the country. However, there have been some predictions that because of this out of the norm ban and the President’s eyebrow-raising tweets, maybe it will be enough for the Supreme Court to keep the ruling of the federal judge, James Robart. Meanwhile, the case has been in the Court of Appeals, specifically the 9th Circuit and it has decided to keep the freeze on the travel ban.
When I first heard the news of the travel ban I was astounded and yet at the same time not surprised. It has always seemed that Trump was planning on making waves and doing things differently. To be bold and unapologetic. Yet, I remain conflicted. As a Christian, I wonder what our response should be. My first and foremost duty is to Jesus. Bishop David Kendall wrote an article, “If Jesus Were An Immigrant,” and in it, he dares us to question the legal system of immigration and if it really is designed to keep us safe and actually works.
The Free Methodist Church has an entire section of their website dedicated to this issue and in it, they make a point that we must start with the gospel on this issue and end with it. The Church has a history of messing up (slavery, rape, persecution, the holocaust just to name a few). It is our history as Christians. We must own up to our history and accept it, but we must not accept that we can stand by and do nothing when Jesus has not yet returned. We have a mission. Perhaps, it is this mission. The mission to stand by the immigrants and make them feel welcome. For Jesus was an immigrant. He came to his own people and they did not recognize him.
“Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’” (Matthew 25:44, NIV)