By Mike Sarafa
Is President Trump right to give priority immigration status to Christians of the Middle East?
This month’s cover story explains President Trump’s follow through on his campaign pledge to give Middle Eastern Christians priority when crafting immigration policies for the Unites States including his attempted ban on immigration from certain Muslim countries. This pledge—now turned policy—is controversial to say the least. It has been championed by those representing the afflicted groups but roundly condemned by those who object to religious preferences in these matters.
Where do you stand?
To analyze a complex problem such as this, it might be helpful to draw upon a basic theory in college logic courses. Remember Aristotle and the syllogism? Wikipedia defines a syllogism as a major premise, supported by a minor premise to deduce a conclusion. Thus, in Wikipedia’s example; all men are mortal; Socrates is a man; therefore Socrates is mortal.
I have constructed four syllogisms that assume various points of view that might be useful in bringing some clarity to this issue. But the bottom line is that the major premise is often formed by one’s own opinion of perspective regarding the facts. Still, some facts are well known which is potentially problematic for some conclusions. They are not constructed very neatly but you’ll get the point. Here they are:
All terrorists are Muslim.
Muslim immigrants could be terrorists.
Therefore immigration from Muslim countries should be stopped.
Christians in the Middle East are persecuted.
Persecuted people deserve special treatment.
Therefore, Christians deserve special treatment.
The influx of immigrants is bad.
U.S Policy allows too much immigration.
Therefore U.S immigration policy is bad.
Americans have common Judeo-Christian values.
Christians of the Middle East share those values.
Therefore, more Christians should be welcomed to the U.S.
There seems to be two underlying premises to Trump’s views: one is that crime is up nationally; second, illegal immigration is up. Therefore, illegal immigrants must commit crime. Unfortunately for the Trump administration, there are no facts that bear any of that out.
On the other hand, the fate of Christianity in the Middle East has been moving in the wrong direction for a generation. With ISIS, it came to head. Christians were given a choice to convert, leave or die. Christian towns were emptied then plundered. Churches destroyed.
There is a case for preferences for Christian immigration. It runs up against American ideals of fairness and equity. It is between these two roads that this issue travels. How it ends up and whether it is right is up for us as a society and government to decide.