Migrants

Republicans in Congress Working to Ban All Refugees

Image via  / Shutterstock.com

A group of Republicans in the House of Representatives is working on legislation to ban all refugees from settling in the United States, reports Foreign Policy.

While the proposed legislation sounds similar to Donald Trump’s proposal to block immigration from all “areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism,” the refugee ban makes no distinctions based on country of origin.

German Cardinal Tarred as 'Antichrist' for Defending Muslims

Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki. Image via REUTERS/Tony Gentile/RNS

A German Catholic leader’s defense of religious freedom has triggered a backlash following anti-Muslim statements by far-right politicians in the country.

Editor-in-Chief Ingo Brueggenjuergen of the Catholic broadcaster Dom Radio, which ran the interview with Archbishop Rainer Maria Woelki of Cologne earlier this week, said in a commentary April 27 that some critics are claiming the cardinal is out to destroy the Catholic Church.

Greece Deports Refugees to Turkey, But Is Turkey Forcing Syrians Back to Homeland?

Image via Anjo Kan / Shutterstock.com

In accordance with a new deal between the E.U. and Turkey, Greece has begun deporting refugees to Turkey, reports Al-Jazeera. Meanwhile, according to a report issued by Amnesty International, the Turkish government has been forcing Syrian refugees back to Syria. If this is true, Turkey would be violating international law.

British Man on Trial for Trying to Rescue 4-Year-Old Refugee

Rob Lawrie with Bahar Ahmadi. Image via Twitter

"I had told her father 'no' many times," Lawrie said in his small suburban-style house in Guiseley, 210 miles (335 kilometers) north of London. "But half past 10 one rainy night, when she fell asleep on my knee as I was leaving for the ferry, I just couldn't leave her there anymore. All rational thought left my head."

Obama: U.S. Will Not 'Close Our Hearts' to Syrian Refugees

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"The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism, they are the most vulnerable as a consequence of civil war and strife. They are parents, they are children, they are orphans. And it is very important — and I was glad to see that this was affirmed again and again by the G20 — that we do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism.

"When Pope Francis came to visit the United States, and gave a speech before Congress, he didn’t just speak about Christians who were being persecuted. He didn’t call on Catholic parishes just to admit to those who were of the same religious faith. He said, protect people who are vulnerable."

Ruin in Me That Which Is Opposed to Ruin

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There is no political outcome that will make these children not drowned. There is no politics that will pull their shirts down to cover their exposed tummies, the way a parent’s loving hand would do. There is no politics that will make their drenched clothing anything other than the last outfit their parents ever clothed them in, unaware when they did so that it would be the clothing in which their children would die. There is no politics that will give these children another life that does not end in terror and despair and cold water. (God, God, how does one write words like this?) There is no politics that will give their parents anything but the end they had: of going into the dark knowing that their dear ones were lost forever.

All this is permanent. It is done and cannot and will not and will never be undone. And while I am all for good politics, which is to say I am all for a good future, and so I am all for doing better by the refugees that yet live, I also refuse to let the past go as if it were merely the gravel under the sub-foundation of whatever shiny tomorrow we happen to build next.

There is no politics that can redeem what time has irretrievably taken. To stand as witness to the past is to stand either in utter nihilism and despair, or in the desperate, desperate hope that in the end a Redeemer will walk upon the earth, who will bring forth those whose flesh was destroyed, to see and be loved forever by God.

All in the Same Boat

PaperBoats
Paper boats in memory of Mediterranean migrants, Enki Photo / Shutterstock 

SINCE JANUARY, more than 1,750 migrants have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean Sea. That is more than 30 times higher than during the same period last year, according to the International Organization for Migration. The United Nations estimated that, as of the end of May, 90,000 migrants had come across the Mediterranean into Europe so far in 2015.

Last summer, Christian Peacemaker Teams, an international NGO that places unarmed intervention teams in situations of conflict to reduce violence, launched CPT-Mediterranean on the Greek island of Lesbos to support migrants arriving by sea. I served with that team and heard survivors’ stories firsthand. So what is going on?

Eleven million people were displaced by violence last year, according to The New York Times, most driven out of Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, and Afghanistan. However, tens of thousands are also pushed north from sub-Saharan Africa, fleeing desperate poverty and violence. It’s the worst migration crisis since World War II, according to the United Nations.

In the past, most migrants into the European Union came by land. In Greece, they entered along the border with Turkey. In 2012, Greece built a fence along the Turkish border to stop migrants and refugees from coming into the country. This forced migrants to enter Europe along Greece’s border with Bulgaria. In 2014, a fence was erected there too, effectively cutting off a primary land route into the European Union. 

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Pope Francis: Seek Forgiveness for Shutting Out Refugees

Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi
Three hundred sub-Saharan Africans sit onboard a boat during a rescue operation. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

Pope Francis on Wednesday said people who shut out refugees should seek forgiveness, after clashes on Italy’s borders as European countries try to push back against a wave of migrants fleeing by boat from Libya.

Addressing crowds in St. Peter’s Square, Francis drew his followers’ attention to the U.N.’s World Refugee Day this Saturday.

Pope Francis Decries ‘Globalization of Indifference’

Photo courtesy RNS.
Pope Francis waves from the pope-mobile during his inauguration Mass at St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. Photo courtesy RNS.

In his first official trip outside Rome since his election, Pope Francis visited the tiny island of Lampedusa off the coast of Sicily on Monday, hoping to show solidarity to African migrants who risk their lives trying to immigrate to Europe.

Set only 70 miles from Tunisia, the Italian island of Lampedusa is the first port of safety for the thousands of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers who risk their lives every summer trying to reach Europe on small, rickety boats.

Francis said the frequent news reports on the deaths of the people who were trying to make the crossing had been like “a thorn in the heart” for him, and called on society to overcome what he called “the globalization of indifference.”

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