President Donald Trump sparked controversy one week into office with a new executive order. In this piece of legislation, Trump has halted immigration for the next 120 days from seven different Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Syria. President Trump’s hope is to protect Americans from terrorist threats.
In addition to the halt of immigration, President Trump has also lowered the number of refugees allowed into the United States to 50,000. In 2015, former President Barack Obama allowed 115,000 and lowered that number to 80,000 in 2016. The United States is not allowing Syrian refugees.
Critiques of the new executive order arise from multiple concerns.
Scott Waalkes, professor of international politics, said, “Whether you agree or disagree that the executive order was necessary, it felt rushed. I don’t think that they thought out the ripple effects of how this was going to affect people.”
President Trump’s goal was to stop and prevent terrorism and to protect Americans. According to a recent article from “The Atlantic,” the seven countries affected by this ban have carried out zero terrorist attacks between 1975 to 2015.
This is not the first time in American history where a president has cut off immigration. In 1882, President Chester A. Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which did not allow Chinese miners to immigrate into the United States for 10 years. Franklin D. Roosevelt did not allow Jewish refugees to enter the United States during World War II. Jimmy Carter put a ban on Iranian immigration during his administration.
These examples demonstrate that in our country’s history, administrations have not allowed certain ethnicities and groups of people to immigrate into the country. Is President Trump doing the same thing?
Many individuals experience trouble discerning how they should respond to the executive order. University President David King wrote the Malone community Jan. 31 and offered his proposed response.
King wrote, “I want to take this time given our current environment, to highlight core elements of our life together in community at Malone. Our learned and lived understanding of The Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22: 34-40) and the associated command to “love your neighbor as yourself” calls us to respond to the uncertainties and anxieties of the day with a posture of heartfelt empathy. Our model is The Good Samaritan who, although unknown to the victim and of a different ethnicity and culture exhibited compassion, empathy and care at a personal cost.”
A recent graduate serving in the Middle East as a missionary and teaching English said she is employing her best understanding of “loving your neighbor” in her work with refugees. Although not everyone can respond with such direct contact with refugees, each person can respond to the order. Each person can model themselves after the Good Samaritan in numerous ways, including supporting those who work with refugees seeking to enter the United States or assisting the refugee community in Akron. Every individual can find a way to shine their light and love others.
Chandler Stahl is a guest writer for The Aviso