“I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
These are the first words the Seton Hall community saw on Tuesday when it opened a statement from University President Dr. A. Gabriel Esteban. It is a quote from the Bible, but those words could have just as easily come from Esteban himself, a native of the Philippines.
Disregard context and those words apply to each and every one of us. Whether it be as a new student at Seton Hall, a first-time professor on campus or a migrant looking for a better life in America, we have all at one time or another been the stranger in search of welcoming.
However, the statement Esteban mass-emailed did come with context. It was a direct response to President Donald Trump’s Executive Order, “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Entry into the United States.”
“Protect,” of course, is the administration’s cover for “ban,” with “terrorist” serving as code for “immigrants and refugees” from predominantly Muslim countries. According to The New York Times, 721 people were denied boarding for the United States earlier this week. Some people were detained. Some were questioned. Some were elderly. Some were children. Some were green card holders. Some were interpreters alongside members of the United States military overseas.
All were looking for welcoming in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
We, as a country, have not been brave, though. Instead, the new administration is using fearmongering – the odds of being killed by a refugee radical are one in 3.6 billion, according to Vox – to shy away from both foreigners and the very principles that make America great.
Thankfully, Trump’s order has been met with remarkable resistance around the country and, furthermore, the globe. Right here on campus, just this Tuesday, Seton Hall’s Muslim Student Association organized a vigil by the seal.
Not an ounce of hate, not even for Trump, was shared. As Muslim students, Catholic priests and others shared their personal stories, the themes were clear: peace, love, the American dream, unity, acceptance.
This week, in The Setonian, we have made an effort to share some of these stories with you. We hope you take the time to read them and understand the struggles some of your peers and colleagues or their families have gone or are going through. They are simply stories of people who once sought welcoming.
Some still are.
The Voice is intended to best represent the collective opinion of The Setonian’s editorial board. It is written by The Setonian’s Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor.