Ever since Donald Trump and his administration signed an Executive Order limiting refugees and immigrants from seven Middle Eastern countries (and possible others depending on the whims of Border Patrol and Customs agents at international airports), long time activists and scholars are speaking out more than ever about the effects of such a stringent and short-sighted policy. People with empathy for those seeking to escape war torn or otherwise uninhabitable countries to a better place such as the United States have been making their voices heard in protests and installations around the country all week, and the high-profile nature of the protests have done wonders for raising the profile of this issue and garner support for organizations like the ACLU.
Now, one of the most high-profile activists out there has made her point in a new op-ed. On Thursday, Angelina Jolie published an editorial piece in the New York Times asserting all of the reasons why it is important to accept refugees into the country and support them once they are here. In the piece, Jolie uses her background as a UN Goodwill Ambassador and the UNHCR Special Envoy and her experiences in countries like Lebanon and Jordan to provide insight into situations on the ground around the world and what refugees are actually going through.
The entire piece is well worth a read, but one of the passages that lands the most during this current political crisis is when Jolie writes,
“Shutting our door to refugees or discriminating among them is not our way, and does not make us safer. Acting out of fear is not our way. Targeting the weakest does not show strength.”
If we create a tier of second-class refugees, implying Muslims are less worthy of protection, we fuel extremism abroad, and at home we undermine the ideal of diversity cherished by Democrats and Republicans alike: “America is committed to the world because so much of the world is inside America,” in the words of Ronald Reagan. If we divide people beyond our borders, we divide ourselves.
These sentiments, which so accurately identify where the United States specifically finds itself right now, should be internalized by everyone considering what next steps to take in either supporting or protesting this immigration ban.
Jolie also explains how her experiences as a mother, in addition to her activist work, color her opinions and deepen her heartbreak about this current situation. If nothing else, if she didn’t even include all of the evidence about how these immigration limitations and travel bans could topple functioning governments and accelerate destabilization in already sensitive regions, that should be enough for people to realize just how important the reversal of such a ban (and the mentality that comes with it) is for the future of the society everyone reading it is used to.
(via The New York Times)