Thursday, February 2, 2017

Locked Out

On Sunday afternoon I returned home from my run to find our house locked. I knocked on the door and waited a few quiet minutes. Then I cupped my hands and peered in the living room window. No one. I walked around the side of the house to check out the backyard. No one was home. Sometimes problem solving takes me awhile, but this time it didn't take long for me to determine that Charly and the boys had probably taken their football tossing from the front yard to the school field. So I ventured down the hill, discovered them playing there, retrieved the key from Charly who apologized for locking me out, and walked back home. It was an approximate 20 minute inconvenience to my day.

Being “locked out” wasn't just a minor inconvenience to many who were trying to enter America over the weekend.

A 12 year old girl from Yemen got stuck in Djibouti because of Trump's Executive Order:
“The 12-year-old is now in the worst possible limbo. That immigrant visa grants her lawful permanent resident status the instant she’s admitted to the U.S. by Customs and Border Protection. And once she reaches the United States, Section 320 of the Immigration and Nationality Act stipulates that, as a minor living with her U.S. citizen parents, she automatically becomes a U.S. citizen. But on Saturday, hours after Trump signed that executive order, Ali and his daughter were pulled out of line by airline personnel and prevented from boarding their Ethiopian Airlines flight.

Until she’s admitted to the United States, she will not have green card status. The girl and her father are trapped in East Africa, where they have no friends or family, as they wait for a resolution to an ordeal they had thought was over. 'Everybody was happy,' Ali told me on the phone from Djibouti. 'We were almost done after six years.' And then, in one day, he said, 'Everything disappears.'"

Rep. Jim Costa, a Democrat who represents California’s 16th congressional district, released the following statement about this tragic situation:

“As a member of Congress, my number one priority is Americans’ safety both at home and abroad, and I think it’s obvious that keeping a 12-year-old out of the country is not strengthening the safety of our nation. This executive order is having a devastating impact on hundreds of other individuals and immigrant families that thought the United States would be helping them seek refuge. The vast majority of individuals being detained or prohibited from entering the United States have already been through one of the most extensive vetting processes in the world. Clearly, President Trump’s executive order was not vetted thoroughly by his Administration. Not only is it flawed policy, but it has the potential to be ruled unconstitutional.

Let us never forget that America’s diversity is what makes us strong. Banning individuals, mostly women and children, from entering the United States is not the American way. I will be supporting legislation that will rescind President Trump’s executive order because the executive order is flawed and is not making the American people safer.”
I was challenged yesterday by Gary Haugen's book Good News About Injustice, “While it seems more natural to have compassion for those closest to us, we won't find in the Bible where Jesus asked us to have more compassion for our immediate neighbors or our compatriots than for anyone else. I believe he understands our tendency to do so but is probably eager for us to reach out, as we are able (or as we seek his enabling), beyond our carnal limitations, prejudices, cultural mythologies and convenient stereotypes. Jesus calls us to be witnesses to his love, truth, salvation, compassion and justice 'in Jerusalem (at home), and in all Judea and Samaria (nearby) and to the ends of the earth.'" (Acts 1:8)
Since we have been back in America the past 1 ½ years, Charly's heart has been growing to develop relationships with internationals. Through family dinners hosted by our boys' ESL program we have gotten to know 4 Egyptian families. Last month God gave Charly an idea to bring two of these Egyptian (Muslim) families and two Christian families together to host an incoming refugee family. He wrote a great blog post for Pulpit Rock Church called Outside These Walls.
The four families interested in serving together in this way are planning to attend a volunteer training meeting tonight at Lutheran Family Services But because of the Refugee Ban, it is unclear when we will be matched with a new refugee family.
We want to be Breaking Out of the Bubble where it is so easy to live. In Why Jesus Crossed the Road, Bruce Main writes, “To those carrying his name today, Jesus calls out and reminds us to rediscover the often overlooked discipline of road crossing. With this challenge comes a promise. Our faith journey will be enriched. Our lives will be transformed. And our world will be changed.”

Let's open the doors of our homes and work together to unlock the doors of this country to welcome those who have been wrongly turned away, like the 12 year old girl in Djiboiti.

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