Donald Trump’s prioritizing of Christian Syrian refugees over Muslim Syrian refugees has some people flustered and confused. But what he has done is both the highest moral good and what is best for America at the same time. This is in keeping with his America First campaign promise (to do what is best for America) and a reversal of the Obama administration’s practices which almost entirely shunned Syrian Christian refugees. (See also Christians Face Total Purge from Syria and Syria’s Christians Fear Total Genocide)
Important Points to Note
- President Trump has not banned Muslims; he’s banned people from seven countries that have proven to be dangerous. READ THE EXECUTIVE ORDER ITSELF. Additional reading at National Review about what the ban is and isn’t.
- President Trump has a temporary ban on refugees from Syria for 120 days until vetting issues are fixed; he will prioritized Christian refugees from Syria because of the persecution they face.
- President Obama had a six month ban on immigration from Iraq.
- President Carter banned Iranians and expelled those who were here including university students.
- Prior to 1892 the states handled immigration. Ellis Island opened in 1892.
- In the 1920s Ellis Island became more of a deportation center for people rejected by the United States.
- Presidents are allowed to ban people for any reason. In the past those reasons included being physically unable to work or suffered mental illness (so that countries didn’t dump their dregs on the U.S.); unaccompanied children were rejected; anarchists were rejected; people who were too poor to make their own way; people who were ill were turned away at Ellis Island.
- There was almost no immigration at all from the 1920s until the 1960s.
- Even under present law, being persecuted does not grant a person automatic entry to the United States. Were it otherwise, the system would be overwhelmed.
Americans are a kind and compassionate people. We do not like to see others suffer and we wish to help them if they do. We naively think that we should bring suffering people to the country and that they will appreciate and be won over by our wealth and way of life. Unfortunately, the persuasion of our lifestyle is not all that great. We have the ability to sympathize with the plight of poor people and oppressed women and children because we’ve grown up with freedom and comparative prosperity. We think that they will respond the same way we would were we snatched from such war-torn and impoverished countries. We think that they view America like we would view walking into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory – a virtual paradise. Unfortunately there are complicating factors like education, religion, and general culture that mitigate much of that presumed enthusiasm.
The strong sense of Muslim cohesion which Islam demands does not make it a good prospect for integration into Western Civilization. Islam teaches that other nations are to be conquered either by force or by settling in and out-breeding the native population until the Muslims are able to overtake the country from within. Islam might seem to be old-fashioned and quirky or even a quaintly romantic religion to Westerners, but it is far more than that. It is also a political system guided by Sharia Law. The goal is to replace the law in any country where the Muslim resides with Sharia Law.
Islam is a full-throated theocracy. There is no such thing as a separation of church and state with Islam. It seeks to dominate, subjugate, and eradicate all opposition from other religions, laws, and ways of governance. And while some Muslims who have been raised in the West may have put enough distance between themselves and the traditional teachings of Islam so as to live peaceful and patriotic lives, these fresh imports from the Middle East are not so inculturated. They maintain a strong allegiance to traditional Islam and its radical ways. Because of this twin pillar of being both a religion and a political system, Islam is fundamentally incompatible with Western Civilization.
Both our own experiences and those of Europe tell us that the refugees are frequently violent, consider women chattel, feel free to sexually assault and rape women, rob and abuse non-Muslims, abuse the public services, and most of them do not work. They put additional strain on the welfare system, the education system, the healthcare system, and the legal system. They have not come with the appreciation of a guest to a generous host country. The wealth and freedoms we enjoy are seen as decadent and immoral by Islamic standards. They are not interested in melding into our civilization and becoming an integral part of it. They prefer to drain our resources and form Islamic ghettos where Sharia Law is maintained and the police fear to go.
On the other hand, Christian refugees are the group in the most danger during this crisis. They are an extremely small minority group living among an overwhelmingly Islamic culture. Islamic culture in the Middle East can be, and often is, violent or even murderous to Christians. It has made seeking asylum in refugee camps a dangerous proposition. Christians may find themselves abused, robbed, raped, or even murdered by Muslims in the camp simply for being a Christian. Because of this, many have chosen to seek refuge wherever they may find it apart from the camps.
By their very nature, the Christian Syrian refugees are a much better fit for Western Civilization. Western Civilization has been molded by Christianity for over 2,000 years. The United States was settled by Europeans who brought their practice of Christianity with them. They shaped their local governments on Christian principles. When they formally founded the nation, its government was built upon Christian principles of honesty, justice, peace, thrift, property rights, and hard work. Syrian Christians are much more compatible with the present culture in that way. The Christian refugee should be less of a burden on the welfare system, show more industry and drive to work, have a greater appreciation for being in the host country, and live peaceful, quiet lives which will not burden our security services.
The Best Way
Our compassion tells us to bring refugees to us. But the reality is that all the people in the world who are suffering persecution cannot be brought into the country. Therefore, we have to be selective both for our sake and theirs. President Trump has long advocated for keeping people near to their homes in shelters until such a time as they can return home. This is, after all, the goal of the refugee – to return home. Placements are not intended to be permanent except in a few cases. Shelters are to be temporary and then disbanded when no longer needed.
Financially, it makes much more sense to keep people in the Middle East. The cost to bring a single refugee to the United States is estimated to be $60,000 while the cost of feeding and housing them in the Middle East is about $12,000. While evangelical Christians often think that bringing refugees to the United States is the best way to convert them, there is little evidence that this works. It is better to send missionaries to the Middle East and far more economical. For the same $60,000 it takes to bring a single refugee to the United States, our church supports a family of three for a year of mission work in the Middle East working with Syrian refugees. These people are trained to work with Muslims and to help convert them to Christianity. Few American evangelical Christians are trained for such work. So is it best to spend $60,000 on trained missionaries to work in the field or to bring one ill-equipped Muslim to the country who might then have a chance encounter with an ill-equipped evangelical Christian? The answer is obvious.
Donald Trump has identified the most vulnerable group of people to target for refugee status. There are plenty of Muslim countries where Muslim refugees can find shelter. It is not so for the Christian refugees. Until President Trump has time to make more safe havens to shelter refugees in the Middle East, we can rest assured that the Christian refugee is the most suitable to fit into American life. In this the President has achieved the highest moral good attainable both for the refugee and the country.