In 2015, Doolittle hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for Syrian refugees
Oakland A’s pitcher Sean Doolittle knows the downside of taking on political issues as a professional athlete. A year and a half after hosting a Thanksgiving welcoming dinner in Chicago for Syrian refugees with his girlfriend, Eireann Dolan, he is still fielding insults and slurs for welcoming refugees to America. But he’s not dissuaded.
Following the recently overturned immigration bans levied against seven predominately Muslim countries, Doolittle has continued to speak up. He recently spoke to the Los Angeles Times about the perception that immigrants pose a threat and the benefit of welcoming others to the United States.
I’ve always thought that all boats rise with the tide. Refugees aren’t stealing a slice of the pie from Americans. But if we include them, we can make the pie that much bigger, thus ensuring more opportunities for everyone.
He elaborated on the circumstances under which refugees seek aid and their hopes for their new lives.
These are people fleeing civil wars, violence, and oppression that we can’t even begin to relate to. I think people think refugees just kind of decide to come over. They might not realize it takes 18-24 months while they wait in a refugee camp. They go through more than 20 background checks and meetings with immigration officers. They are being vetted.
They come here, and they want to contribute to society. They’re so grateful to be out of a war zone or whatever they were running from in their country that they get jobs, their kids go to our schools, they’re paying taxes, and in a lot of cases, they join our military.
In the past year, Doolittle has publicly shifted his political affiliation from Republican to independent and, judging by he and his now-fiancée’s social media statements, he sees room for improvement with the current state of things.