Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.
-Hebrews 13:2 NRSV
This past Friday, an expansion of the travel ban, often referred to as the “Muslim ban,” was announced that will limit citizens of six more countries — Nigeria, Eritrea, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, and Sudan — from coming to live and work in the United States. The initial ban, implemented through Executive Order in 2018, limited immigrants from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Venezuela, and North Korea. The National Council of Churches sees the initial ban, as well as its expansion, like other Trump Administration policies limiting immigration and refugee resettlement, as blatantly racist.
The Administration’s policy toward those attempting to come primarily from Muslim-majority and African nations to the US continues to separate families and keeps neighbors and friends from their children, spouses, or parents. It also presupposes that people are unworthy to offer their skills or seek careers or educational opportunities. Furthermore, more people who seek life-saving medical care in the US will be unable to get the aid they need. We seek to build a nation in which the immigrant, the refugee, and the oppressed are free to come and find opportunity and make a home.
This extension of the travel ban is contrary to the spirit of the One who calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40 NRSV). This is a central tenet of Christianity; it is central to the beliefs of many, if not all, faiths. We are grateful for the life-giving relationships we have with our neighbors and friends, and we pledge to continue to work together with our partners to welcome, and to defend, each other.