On The Refugee Ban and Trump: An Open Letter To The Christian Left

Dear friends on the Christian Left,

I’ve seen your outrage on social media. As a proud Republican and a first generation immigrant who is privileged to be dating a woman who came to America as a religious refugee, I’m inclined to agree with you on some aspects of the refugee ban. Like many of you, I have my concerns about its effectiveness and unintended consequences. Like many of you, I have also supported relief efforts for refugees as part of my moral duty as a Christian. I’ve seen firsthand the rigorous vetting processes in place for green card holders and refugees. That being said, I can’t help but wonder:

Where was your righteous outrage when the Obama administration completely stopped processing refugees from Iraq for six months in 2011 over concerns about terrorist infiltration (a step nearly identical to Trump’s current order)?

Where was this outrage when President Obama also capped the refugee admission numbers at 50,000-70,000 per year before 2016, during his Presidency?

Where was the outrage when only two weeks ago, President Obama revoked a decades-old “wet foot, dry foot” policy of allowing entry to refugees from Cuba who made it to our shores? His move, intended to signal an easing of tensions with the brutal Communist dictatorship in Havana, has stranded scores of refugees in Mexico and Central America, and Mexico last Friday deported the first 91 of them to Cuba.

Where was this outrage when the Obama administration also watered down the State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report to upgrade countries like Malaysia, Cuba, China, India, Uzbekistan and Mexico – who wound up with better grades than independent, on the ground nonprofit organizations wanted to give them? I have firsthand experience with this as I was working with one of these nonprofit organizations in India when this report came out. The State Department’s TIP report was completely paradoxical to the realities I observed on the ground.

Do refugee lives of people in these 7 countries matter more than the lives of Iraqi and Cuban refugees? Do these select refugee lives matter more than the lives of victims of human trafficking in Malaysia, Cuba, China, India, Uzbekistan and Mexico? Or for that matter, do they matter more than the lives of unborn babies in the United States and around the world?

While you may have every right to be outraged by something you disagree with, I strongly recommend holding a mirror to your condescending rhetoric and outrage before you call out your fellow Christians on the Right for the same. Hypocrisy is, after all, a two way street.

About the Author

Joash Thomas
Joash Thomas spent his childhood attending a house church in India. A first generation immigrant, Joash has around four years of experience in legislative affairs, strategic communications and government relations at the state, federal and international level. Joash currently heads up Patriot Public Affairs, an Atlanta-based public affairs / political consulting firm. A proud graduate of Georgia State University, Joash is a current Masters degree candidate at The George Washington University's Graduate School of Political Management.