“They need to wait in line. Go through the proper channels. If I had to, they should, too.”
“They’re taking our jobs. They’re taking advantage of our welfare system.”
“They could be spies, terrorists, gangsters.”
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.
The civil war had been going on for longer than he could remember.
10 years old, and now caretaker of his baby sister.
Just like his brother cared for him, carrying him on his back until he could finally walk at age 5. He had scoliosis.
And now, it was just him and his sister. Everyone else had left.
His parents took their older siblings and fled.
Maybe they thought that they would be ok; that maybe someone would take pity on them.
Maybe they knew that the older ones had the best chance of survival.
Maybe they didn’t know what to do but had to make a choice.
Whatever it was, they were alone, without food or money.
They foraged for a while, rationing whatever they found. But it soon ran out.
When they chopped down their fruitless papaya tree, trying unsuccessfully to boil the wood for food, they knew they had to leave.
Her aunt and uncle ran a successful business, employing many people.
They believed in honesty and hard work, and vowed not to bow to corruption.
Naturally, they refused to pay the local gang.
So they were killed. Them, their workers, and their families.
What few survived fled.
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.
“Your grandma won the lottery to come to the US. Then we sponsored your grandpa’s brothers and their families so they could live here, too.”
“Your grand-uncle was a paper son. He came through Angel Island. After he settled, he brought all his siblings, including your grandma. Thankfully, Reagan granted amnesty.”
“THE CHINESE INVASION! They Are Coming, 900,000 Strong. […] What are you going to do about it? Nations of the earth take warning.” San Francisco Chronicle, August 27, 1873.
“We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came […]” @realDonaldTrump, June 24, 2018
The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
1882: the Chinese Exclusion Act became the first law restricting immigration based on ethnicity.
June 26, 2018: the third iteration of President Trump’s Muslim Ban took full effect.
2018: the US admitted less than 22,500 refugees, the lowest number to date since the Refugee Act of 1980. [Data from the Migration Policy Institute.]
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’
Have mercy on us, O God.
We have forgotten ourselves.
We have forgotten you.
We have forgotten your people.
Christ, have mercy.
How to Fight Xenophobia
- Educate yourself on the world’s current affairs and reasons people migrate
- Learn your family’s migration stories, and notice how they compare with others’
- Consume media representing a diversity of cultures and experiences
- Be open to uncomfortable conversations
- Challenge xenophobic comments, especially those spoken within your community
- Connect with organizations working with refugees in your area