Any conversation about refugees, particularly within the borders of the USA, is typically met with legitimate concerns. However, those concerns can easily and unnecessarily conflate into fear, thus distorting the conversation and the reality of refugees and resettlement. As Christians, though, we should be and are called to be a people of faith–not a people enslaved to fear. When it comes to welcoming the refugees to our shores, our arms and hearts should be wide open.
I would argue that most Christians are amenable to the idea of being open, receptive, and supportive to widows, orphans, and the displaced. However, there are many sources of misinformation fueling what has become a very real sense of fear for many.
One of the primary sources of this false information is social media and even traditional news sources. Often, these outlets spew out information that is based less on fact than fear. That fear is fueled by a lack of information, thus jeopardizing the opportunity for real progress to occur.
While various arguments for and against the presence of refugees in our country, these three are among the most common:
1. Economic Implications
There is a widely-circulated fear that refugees coming to the USA will be a drain on our economy. However, data shows that immigrants, to a large degree, have a positive effect on the country and economy that receives them.
2. Religious Drawbacks
Another fear is that the increased presence of refugees will somehow dilute the Christian faith. Data shows the opposite. Overall, the church in the United States has benefitted from resettlement and the influx of new people from varied backgrounds. This fear may be a derivative of aesthetics as much as anything. The new believers and emerging churches don’t look like you and me. They are Burmese, West African, Hispanic, and a myriad of other ethnicities. Side-by-side with you and me, I am of the mind that this collective ultimately looks a lot more like heaven.
The fear of terrorism, more specifically, the fear of terrorists slipping through the refugee system and process seems to be at a fever pitch as of late. The truth is, the possibility of someone infiltrating the US through the immigration process is highly unlikely, largely due to the stringency of our screening process. There are much easier ways for terrorists to enter the US than through the immigration process.
The processes in place for refugees and immigrants entering the United States are extensive, thorough and should set your mind at ease when it comes to fears of terror infiltrating our borders. Overall, immigration and the presence of refugees in this country benefits our economy, our churches and poses no serious threat to national security.
While we must remain cautious and vigilant when it comes to who and how individuals enter and subsequently affect us, we should open our eyes to the rich rewards the “Kingdom” side of immigration brings to us all.