The Seattle Prep Panther

“I was a stranger and you welcomed me” How Jesuit leaders are reacting to the refugee ban.

Gabi Jeakle, Staff Writer

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President Donald Trump has proposed building a wall between the borders of Mexico and America. He has placed a ban on refugees from seven middle eastern countries. While these policies have caused controversy for individuals and groups, they have particularly violated the ideals of Jesuit teachings. Jesuit priests, teachers, and students all across the country have established teachings to provide a more inclusive view on immigration.

Catholic teachings have a stark focus on protecting the life of all. That means the life of refugees, immigrants, and any minority’s that may be isolated. Donald Trump has claimed the Bible as his favorite book, and claimed himself a holy man, but Jesuit leaders believe he represents ideas of isolation and exclusivity. Pope Francis’ famous quote during the election season “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian” sparked global clash of ideas, particularly those of Jesuits. Pope Francis, our first Jesuit Pope, has spoken frequently and openly about his disapproval of the way refugees are treated, saying that they are not “pawns on the chessboard of humanity”

Jesuit students are commonly educated with a focus on social justice, and the violation of that justice is creating a need for students to take part in programs and activities that promote equality in their communities and schools. Across the country, Jesuit schools have created social justice clubs to promote the equality of minorities, instilling a sense of urgency in their students to take a stand for their beliefs. Yami, a student at Cristo Rae Jesuit high school in San Jose, says she can’t imagine what it would be like to be separated from her immigrant parents, but that it’s a reality many kids have to live with. “It’s sad how the policy’s goal is to divide us when the U.S. Is supposed to be a ‘united nation’. She, like other students at her school, have personal experience with immigration, and see reflections of what they went through in the treatment of Syrian refugees. “We are all human, we all deserve the same amount of respect, we all need love, we all eat food and water to survive, so what’s the big difference?”

The laws may be set, and practically unchangeable by the common citizen, but that’s not to say that there is not a force fighting the laws that are felt unjust. Father James Martin SJ has discussed the idea of being “Pro life; All life” and putting a focus on the needs of refugees, and immigrants specifically. Thanks to the tireless work of Jesuit educators everywhere, the gap between faith and social justice has been bridged through a common concern for love, acceptance, and willingness to embrace change.

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“I was a stranger and you welcomed me” How Jesuit leaders are reacting to the refugee ban.