In regards to President Donald Trump’s announcements on immigration, the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB), Archbishop Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, and Catholic Charities USA released the following statements:
USCCB Committee On Migration Chair Strongly Opposes Executive Order Because It Harms Vulnerable Refugee And Immigrant Families
WASHINGTON—President Donald J. Trump issued today an Executive Order addressing the U.S. refugee admissions program and migration to the United States, generally. The executive order virtually shuts down the refugee admissions program for 120 days, reduces the number of refugees to be admitted to the United States this year from 110,000 to 50,000 individuals, and indefinitely suspends the resettlement of Syrian refugees. In addition, it prioritizes religious minorities suffering from religious persecution, thereby deprioritizing all other persons fleeing persecution; calls for a temporary bar on admission to the United States from a number of countries of particular concern (all Muslim majority); and imposes a yet-to-be determined new vetting process for all persons seeking entry to the United States.
Regarding the Executive Order’s halt and reduction of admissions, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the Committee on Migration, stated:
“We strongly disagree with the Executive Order’s halting refugee admissions. We believe that now more than ever, welcoming newcomers and refugees is an act of love and hope. We will continue to engage the new administration, as we have all administrations for the duration of the current refugee program, now almost forty years. We will work vigorously to ensure that refugees are humanely welcomed in collaboration with Catholic Charities without sacrificing our security or our core values as Americans, and to ensure that families may be reunified with their loved ones.”
Regarding the Executive Order’s ban on Syrian refugees, the prioritization of religious minorities suffering from religious persecution, Bishop Vásquez added:
“The United States has long provided leadership in resettling refugees. We believe in assisting all those who are vulnerable and fleeing persecution, regardless of their religion. This includes Christians, as well as Yazidis and Shia Muslims from Syria, Rohingyas from Burma, and other religious minorities. However, we need to protect all our brothers and sisters of all faiths, including Muslims, who have lost family, home, and country. They are children of God and are entitled to be treated with human dignity. We believe that by helping to resettle the most vulnerable, we are living out our Christian faith as Jesus has challenged us to do.”
Moving forward after the announcement, Bishop Vásquez concluded:
“Today, more than 65 million people around the world are forcibly displaced from their homes. Given this extraordinary level of suffering, the U.S. Catholic Bishops will redouble their support for, and efforts to protect, all who flee persecution and violence, as just one part of the perennial and global work of the Church in this area of concern.”
Original release on USCCB website
Statement from Cardinal DiNardo re: President Trump’s Immigration Policies
By Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
Today President Donald Trump made several announcements which deeply concern me. These include issuing an executive order to construct a wall at the U.S./Mexico border, significantly increasing immigrant detention and deportation, and preempting the judgment of state and local law enforcement on how best to protect their communities.
The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is committed to an immigration policy that protects human rights, dignity and the homeland at the same time. Over the years, we have seen first-hand the suffering caused by a broken immigration system. We have witnessed the pain, fear and heartache of people who have come to us, who have to live among us in the shadows of society. Many have suffered exploitation in the workplace, lived under the constant threat of deportation and bore the weight of the fear of possible separation from their family members and friends.
As Archbishop of a Texas diocese, I believe that the order to construct a wall along our border with Mexico will only make migrants more susceptible to traffickers and smugglers – putting their lives in needless danger. It also destabilizes the many vibrant interconnected communities that live in peace along our border.
The announced increase in immigrant detention space and immigration enforcement activities is alarming. It will tear families apart and spark fear and panic in communities. While I, and the faith leaders of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, respect the right of our federal government to control our borders and ensure security for all Americans, we do not believe that a large scale escalation of immigrant detention and increased use of enforcement in immigrant communities is the way to achieve those goals. Instead, we remain firm in our commitment to comprehensive, compassionate, and common-sense reform.
Original post at Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
Catholic Charities USA Stands in Solidarity with Immigrants and their Families
Alexandria, Va. – Sister Donna Markham OP, PhD, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) expressed profound concern about President Trump’s immigration-related executive actions and the potential impact these actions will have on those who are most vulnerable.
“Pope Francis has urged people not to close the door on migrants and refugees. In concert with the Holy Father, we believe we must move from attitudes of defensiveness and fear to acceptance, compassion and encounter. As the U.S. Catholic bishops have said, this is not an either/or situation for us. We can protect our citizens and, at the same time, we can welcome newcomers. Our commitment to care for those who are most vulnerable resides at the core of our faith,” said Sister Donna.
As it has done for over 100 years, Catholic Charities will continue to stand in solidarity with refugees, immigrants and their families. We will work diligently for responsible and comprehensive immigration reform. Certainly, concerns about safety must be addressed, but not through measures that do more harm than good.
Our Catholic heritage calls us to seek justice for newcomers. Our history as a faith community in the United States has been as an immigrant Church in an immigrant nation. We are singularly focused on serving the needs of poor and vulnerable individuals and families, providing compassionate care that respects the dignity of each person, as mandated by the gospel.
Original release at Catholic Charities USA