The Church Responds to Executive Actions Targeting Immigrants and Refugees

Sadly, our new President has begun his term with a series of executive orders and memoranda targeting immigrants and refugees. Happily, the Church and organized labor are swiftly speaking out in defense of these vulnerable workers.

The Church is emerging as a major voice of opposition to the new policies. On January 30, 2017, USCCB President Cardinal Daniel DiNardo and Vice President Archbishop Jose Gomez issued a statement on the executive order blocking Muslim refugees from entering the United States, reading in part:

We call upon all the Catholic faithful to join us as we unite our voices with all who speak in defense of human dignity… Welcoming the stranger and those in flight is not one option among many in the Christian life. It is the very form of Christianity itself.  Our actions must remind people of Jesus. The actions of our government must remind people of basic humanity.  Where our brothers and sisters suffer rejection and abandonment we will lift our voice on their behalf. We will welcome them and receive them. They are Jesus and the Church will not turn away from Him.

Our desire is not to enter the political arena, but rather to proclaim Christ alive in the world today. In the very moment a family abandons their home under threat of death, Jesus is present.  And He says to each of us, ‘whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me’ (MT 25:40).

The USCCB is circulating an Action Alert asking Catholics to petition the president and their elected representatives to end the ban and resume refugee resettlement. (CLICK HERE TO PARTICIPATE)

This action by the USCCB leaders followed a series of statements from Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, in his capacity as chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, opposing presidential moves to stop refugee resettlement, suppress sanctuary cities, and start construction of a wall on the  US-Mexico Border.

For detailed information and additional resources, the bishops maintain a web page filled with Catholic Social Teaching links and resources addressing immigration and another concerning migrants and refugees.

What’s happening in your Diocese, Parish or Catholic organization? Drop me a line at [email protected] or add your story in the comment field below!

2 replies
  1. John
    John says:

    Cardinal Blasé Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, responded to the executive order. Excerpts:

    Have we not repeated the disastrous decisions of those in the past who turned away other people fleeing violence, leaving certain ethnicities and religions marginalized and excluded? . . . These actions impose a sweeping and immediate halt on migrants and refugees from several countries, people who are suffering, fleeing for their lives. Their design and implementation have been rushed, chaotic, cruel and oblivious to the realities that will produce enduring security for the United States. They have left people holding valid visas and other proper documents detained in our airports, sent back to the places some were fleeing or not allowed to board planes headed here.

    We are told this is not the “Muslim ban” that had been proposed during the presidential campaign, but these actions focus on Muslim-majority countries. . . . The world is watching as we abandon our commitments to American values. These actions give aid and comfort to those who would destroy our way of life.

  2. John
    John says:

    San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy also issued a response. Excerpts:

    . . . [W]e recognize that at shameful moments in our national history prejudice, fear and ignorance have led our country to abandon [its historic] identity. This week is just such a shameful moment of abandonment for the United States. The executive order signed by President Trump on Friday professes to be a necessary step in securing the safety of Americans. But the design of the order–and its chaotic implementation–unmask the reality that this Presidential order arose not from a careful effort to balance the needs of security with our commitment to welcome refugees amidst the greatest refugee crisis since World War II. Rather, this executive order is the introduction into law of campaign sloganeering rooted in xenophobia and religious prejudice. . . .

    This week the Statue of Liberty lowered its torch in a presidential action which repudiates our national heritage and ignores the reality that Our Lord and the Holy Family were themselves Middle Eastern refugees fleeing government oppression. We cannot and will not stand silent.

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