In a Tudor-style home in Queens, New York, Donald Trump spent his earliest years. Today, an anonymous owner rents it out through AirBnB for $750 a night. Apparently, that’s what people pay to stay in an awkwardly-decorated house with a picture of 45 on each wall. The owner, who bought it in March of this year, paid $2.14 million for it, even though the Trump family moved out in 1950 and the current president, who was 4 at the time, probably doesn’t even remember the house.
Even so, it seemed like the right setting for charity Oxfam to make a point. They rented the house for a night, and donated the stay to four resettled refugees: Ghassan Shehadeh (Syria), Uyen Nguyen (Vietnam), Abdi Iftin (Somalia), and Eiman Ali (Somalia).
Three of those four come from countries from which Donald Trump tried to ban refugees.
In a statement, Oxfam said that by bringing the refugees to Trump’s own former home, they are sending a message.
“In the coming weeks, President Trump will announce his decision on the number of refugees the US will resettle in 2018,” the organization said in a statement. “Congress will finalize spending bills, which determine the level of financial support the federal government will dedicate to aiding and resettling refugees. And the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the president’s unconstitutional refugee and Muslim ban.”
According to the UN, this is the era of the highest levels of displacement ever known. There are more refugees worldwide than ever before, and Trump’s stated intentions are to shut our doors tighter than any time since the end of the Vietnam war.
The arranged stay’s message is clear: these people are not abstract numbers. They are individuals, they are closer than we know, and we have a responsibility to open our doors.