Chapter 4: An Autobiography of an Idealist

Possible Positives that May Follow Trump’s Executive Order Banning Refugees

I currently work as a refugee resettlement case manager in the United States.  I have daily contact with refugees of many different nationalities and am much more familiar with our nation’s refugee intake system than most of the population.  My job, clients, coworkers, and daily life will be directly impacted by the executive order (summary here) President Trump signed on Friday banning refugee entries for 120 days, among other things.

I absolutely oppose this order, and believe it negatively impacts thousands of innocent people in thousands of different ways.  I believe it will disrupt US international relations and impact our relationship with many strong and tenuous allies.  I believe it contributes to violence and discord in this world and proves to those whose violent actions we oppose, and those who have thus far remained neutral or inactive, that we are exactly the enemy they fear us to be.

I believe all this is an unwarranted cost because the “solution” it provides answers a “problem” that is fabricated out of misinformation and scare tactics, and it actually has no direct positive benefit whatsoever.

However, I am both an idealist and an optimist, which, granted, is a potentially dangerous combination of traits in one person.  But because of this, I have put a great deal of thought into the issue, and come up with some possible positive effects of Trump’s decision to sign this executive order.

  1. It draws attention to refugee resettlement, and a greater percentage of the population will have the opportunity to become better informed.  I do not know what y’all’s facebook feed looks like right now, but mine is covered with opinions, discussions, and information from people on both sides of the issue.  Hopefully the thoughtful people of this country will read and discuss and learn who refugees are, where they come from, and what they do after they enter our country.
  2. Refugees who have already arrived may receive more help and welcome from the community.  I am hoping people’s outraged reaction to President Trump’s actions will turn into activism and donation of time and resources to help those we can–those who right now are working to learn English and struggling to find a job that pays decent wages and gives them some measure of security. (I will make a post soon on ways the common citizen can help refugees here and now).
  3. There is potential for a positive long-term effect on the American psyche.  When I visited Germany last year, I observed an evident consciousness in the people, culture, and in how they chose to present their history that shows a horror felt for the hate and division in their recent past, and a resolve to not repeat it.  To be clear, I am not hoping for a holocaust or a wall to readjust the American attitude, but I am hoping once we see the ramifications of this order, among other divisive actions already taken or started by our president, we as an American people will unite and resolve to be a positive presence in the world.

All of these potential consequences hinge on the decision of you and me to choose kindness, to be active, to strive to unite and bring peace.  To lash out in anger, frustration, and hate only increases the problems.  To do nothing is to give silent support to the status quo.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
-Matthew 5:9

Featured image source is also incidentally a CNN article with the full text of the order.


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