Donald Trump’s Executive Order on Refugees

On Friday, January 27, Donald Trump signed an executive order suspending the admission of refugees from Syria indefinitely, suspending America’s refugee program entirely for 120 days, and barring all people from certain ‘terror prone’ countries for 90 days. The list of ‘terror prone’ countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia – are all Muslim-majority countries where Trump does not have business ties.

He signed the order on Holocaust Memorial Day, a time when we should remember that millions of people were murdered in Europe because they were Jewish. And because no one – including the United States – would give them refuge.

As a Christian, I believe that the only requirement for receiving help is the presence of need. I cannot and will not discriminate on the basis of religion, ethnicity, national origin, or any other criterion. And I believe that it is immoral and unjust for the United States to do so.

As the writers of the Soviet Jewish Refugee Solidarity Sign-On Letter say, we “must not turn our backs on the human beings who are fleeing violence and persecution… nor abandon our highest national values and the demands of basic decency.”


Note: Between writing and publishing this post, a federal judge issued a stay on Mr. Trump’s executive order. While I’m thankful for this, it does not mean that the fight is over.

Talking about Doom in the Present Tense

Like many of my friends and colleagues in ministry and the nonprofit sector, I’m deeply troubled by the prospect of Donald Trump’s presidency. I’m especially concerned given that every branch of the federal government, along with numerous state governments, will be controlled by the Republican Party. I believe that we’re facing at least two years of conservative policy proposals – from repealing the Affordable Care Act to privatizing Social Security – becoming law.

I am concerned about those policies, of course. I’m concerned about Donald Trump’s conflicts of interest. I’m concerned about his potential cabinet’s conflicts of interest. I’m concerned about the presidency of the United States becoming a tool by which some people who are rich and powerful will become richer and more powerful. I’m concerned about democratic norms being thrown out for the sake of power.

I am worried about my friends. I’m worried about people of color who will be abused by emboldened white supremacists. I’m worried about non-Christians who will abused by Christian nationalists. I’m worried about members of the LGBTQ community who will be abused by homophobes and transphobia.

I am, in short, deeply troubled by the prospect of living in Donald Trump’s America.

But I take hope in the fact that, despite what some of those friends and colleagues have suggested, I do not yet live in Donald Trump’s America or Paul Ryan’s America or Ayn Rand’s America.

There is still time to feed the hungry, to give something to drink to the thirsty. There is still time to welcome the stranger and give clothing to the naked. There is still time to care for the sick and visit the prisoner. There is still time to deliver good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captive and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free. There is still time to proclaim a time of God’s favor.

And, of course, there is still time to work for policies that will do just that.

So this is a message for all of my friends who are worried about the doom that might come. Let’s not talk about what might happen in the present tense. Let’s not pretend that a world we don’t want to see – a world that we must fight against – is already here. Let’s roll up our sleeves, get to work, and make sure that the world we fear never becomes a reality.

Sean Patrick Hughes: What Now?

Many of my devout conservative friends were remarkably quiet when their candidate trashed their personal values. And they were remarkably quiet when their candidate made inexcusable first hand remarks about minorities, women and disabled Americans. And they were remarkably quiet when the dark forces of white supremacists aligned themselves in support of their candidate. I understand why. You couldn’t live with the alternative. So you rationalized out of fear that speaking up would enable it. Well, that risk is gone now. You avoided the end you couldn’t live with. That excuse is gone. And now it’s fair to say that tolerance of that behavior from here on can only be seen as an endorsement of it. So when there’s a KKK rally in North Carolina to celebrate the election of the candidate you support, you no longer have any excuse not to condemn it with the same uncompromising vigor that you condemned Hillary. Let’s see the memes. Let’s see the Facebook posts. Let’s see the outrage.

Sean Patrick Hughes: What Now?

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