President Trump’s recently announced executive order, restricting immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries, has sparked protests around the country, particularly at airports.
The executive order restricts the visa process for immigrants from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, although it reportedly makes exceptions for Christian refugees, as well as other religious minorities. It will be in effect for 120 days until U.S. officials can implement a more secure vetting process.
Although the White House and the ban’s supporters argue that it is necessary for national security, others say it is unconstitutional and goes against America’s foundational principles to enact such a ban, which they say is based on religion.
Protestors of the immigration ban gathered at many of the nation’s airports over the weekend to support refugees and condemn the ban.
The New York Post reports that more than 2,000 people, including celebrities, engaged in a protest at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, where 12 refugees were detained. At Denver International Airport, protesters held signs in support of refugees and reportedly sang “Refugees are welcome here.” Similar protests occurred in Portland, Oregon, Newark, New Jersey, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego, California.
According to Fox News, protesters also staged rallies in opposition to the executive order in Washington D.C. and other cities. Stories of refugee families who had been waiting years to be granted entry to the U.S. also began to emerge. The Gospel Herald tells the story of a Christian Syrian family who were stopped at the Philadelphia airport over the weekend and told they had to return home to Doha, Qatar. The family had been working for 15 years to be able to join family members already in the U.S. They were reportedly turned away even though they had visas.
Trump, however, has pushed back against the criticism, and has said that the immigration order is not a Muslim ban:
“America is a proud nation of immigrants, and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression. But we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border. This is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. … My first priority will always be to protect and serve our country, but as president I will find ways to help all those who are suffering,” said Trump.
Some political commentators have also noted that there is precedent for this kind of immigration ban, such as when the Obama administration temporarily banned immigrants from Iraq in 2011.
Proponents of the new policy and those who oppose it remain deeply divided. As Christian blogger Denny Burk notes:
“Our nation is so divided right now. It feels like we are pulling ourselves apart at the seams. For what it’s worth, I want you readers to know that I don’t want to be a part of that. In a public discourse that is increasingly marked by cynicism and back-biting, I’m hoping and praying for wisdom to prevail.”
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: January 30, 2017