Standing with Immigrant Neighbors — Deacon Dr. Holly Hoffman
Guest post by Holly Hoffman, MD, MAMS, Pediatrician and Deacon at St. Paul ELC, Carlisle
A Letter to President Trump About Immigration
President Trump, this weekend, you went too far. You took your executive orders from being “against my ideals” to being personal. I have spent the past 10 years working with the immigrant community, both documented and not. They are my friends, my teachers, my co-workers. They have helped me in medical and dental clinics. They have reached across boundaries in a way that I could not have done, to bring programs that are inclusive of people of color into our church. They have given me hugs on bad days, taught me a new language, and in general been a source of joy, love and hope. They are dear to me.
Now you have made them into targets. You have caused them to have to live in a state of fear and constant anxiety. Yes, on the surface, your order banning immigration and refugees only applied to people from seven countries (which, in the case of Syria, is cruel enough). But how many of your supporters, mixed into every community in this country, are going to stop and ask where people are from and what their immigration status is? All people with an accent, all people with skin darker than “European white”, have now become potential targets for hateful and malevolent verbiage and behavior.
I remind you that the Statue of Liberty says, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” I remind you that the Bible says, “The foreigner who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the foreigner as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”(Lev. 19:34) After all, we are supposedly a Christian nation…you rode to victory in large part because of support by a group of Evangelical Christians. The word “Evangelical” means announcing good news… whose good news? In my own faith tradition, that good news means that I err on the side of compassion over “safety,” welcome over exclusion. I show love to my neighbor, regardless of where they are from and what color their skin, instead of dehumanizing them.
This is not a Democrat vs. Republican issue. This is a human rights issue. And you have created an even larger humanitarian crisis than the world already faced. In the words of the pope, “It’s hypocrisy to call yourself a Christian and chase away a refugee or someone seeking help, someone who is hungry or thirsty, toss out someone who is in need of my help. If I say I am Christian, but do these things, I’m a hypocrite.”
I am a Christian. And I plan to stand alongside my brothers and sisters in need and fight this battle all the way.