People are angry! They are wondering how the President of the United States would ban helpless people who need our help. This is not the time for us to turn our backs on refugees. After all, we are a nation of immigrants and we must welcome all.
Before we take to the streets and the hashtags, let’s study the situation and make an educated judgement.
My perceptive comes from being a daughter of refugees as well as working with refugees in the US for more than ten years. Coming to America as a refugee is not easy. I’ve seen men who were doctors in their homeland compelled to work at minimum wage in the US because their degrees are not recognized here. I’ve seen nurses and engineers having to work two jobs in order to pay for the airline ticket because refugee agencies do not cover that expense for them. I’ve seen refugees dumped in the slums of our cities in roach infested apartments and furniture that can easily be found in American alleys. I’ve seen refugees getting help from public aid because they can’t pay for their groceries. I’ve seen how their kids grow up in bad neighborhoods and having to be detained in correctional centers. Coming to the US is not always pretty, easy or fun for refugees.
The ideal situation is for them to live in their homeland. However, war and destruction make it unlivable for them to live there. So they flee to find hope, help and safety.
But we have a second problem…it’s not the President of the United States…It’s us, the citizens of America. You see, we are quick to object to an executive order, but we do not obligate ourselves to help the refugees that already live here. We are quick to hashtag our opinions but ever so slow to host a refugee in our home. We are quick to picket airports rather than provide for those that just arrived our country. Our talk is big but our action is small. The Bible says: “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:18).”
How can we love in action and not just with words and speech?
- We can send support to refugees through UNHCR (United Nation High Commissioner for refugees), Baptist Global Response, or World Relief.
- We can help the refugees we currently have in our country by befriending them and helping with their financial and emotional needs.
- We can support our government officials to provide a safe place for us and for them.
We can either be part of the problem or part of the solution.
Picketing our airports gives you a loud voice but not a hearing. Pointing your finger at President Trump makes you a fault finder not a problem solver. President Trump has banned some people for coming in the US for six months, he didn’t ban them forever and he’s not saying we won’t help them. Former President Obama banned Syrians from coming to the US for six months as well. No one protested him. During four years of Syria’s civil war, The US welcomed close to 50,000 refugees per year but only allowed less that 250 Syrians to enter for the entire four years. Yet nobody protested or picketed.
Refugees are often displaced for several years. Waiting another six months is not a big deal to them as it is to us. Most refugees can live in a refugee camp from 2 to 10 years until they are resettled to another country. How about we channel our energy and resources to helping them instead.
America, let’s be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Let’s love with action rather than words and hashtags. Let’s lock arms and be a powerful united force to provide a safe place on our soil and the soil of other nations.
Let’s be part of the solution, not the problem!!