Living and Learning

Aliens in America

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Green Card via Wikimedia Commons

These are scary times for aliens in America. They are especially scary times for aliens from certain countries, but all of us are getting a bit twitchy. I’m a non-resident alien in America for nearly six months of the year, and my heart skipped a beat when I read today’s news.

President Trump has just signed an executive order banning entry for some people, and the headline in ProPublica was “Trump Executive Order Could Block 500,000 Legal U.S. Residents From Returning to America From Trips.

“Oh, shit,” I thought. “I’m going to have to sell my condo” because my primary home is in Canada. I return from there every year to stay at my place in California, and I thought for a moment that all aliens were at risk. Then I read the rest of the article and realized he was talking about newcomers from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya or Somalia. The way the executive order is written, though, it could bar people with legitimate visas or green cards from returning from trips abroad.

So, for a moment I felt relieved. I realized it didn’t apply to me. But then I paused. It doesn’t apply to me…yet. While America is about to close itself off with a long wall to the south and by cancelling all its trade agreements, it doesn’t look good for non-citizens.

This is one of those situations that is eerily familiar.  Remember the poem which is displayed at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and was written by Pastor Martin Niemoller?

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me.

Maybe I’m overreacting, but the news today really upset me. We should all be welcoming immigrants and refugees from war-torn countries, not casting them aside. Oh, and by the way, any refugee who has a legitimate visa has already been vetted six ways from Sunday.

This executive order is a product of paranoia. It is pandering to our fears, and it’s just plain wrong. Since this is Holocaust Remembrance Day, it is the perfect time to point this out.

8 replies »

  1. Exactly. This is a democratic, free society. Or NOT. There is no in between. Those supporting this are racist and selfish. I am just so shocked and saddened by the realization of how many I called my friends and had no idea they thought this way.

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