Responding to Trump's ban, top Catholic bishops pledge solidarity with Muslim refugees

A woman greets her mother after she arrived from Dubai at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City Jan. 28. (CNS photo/Andrew Kelly, Reuters)

The nation’s two top Catholic bishops released a statement on Monday pledging solidarity with Muslim refugees, and called on Catholics to take action to support migrants.

“The bond between Christians and Muslims is founded on the unbreakable strength of charity and justice,” Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the conference, and Archbishop José Gomez, the vice president, said in the statement.

 

President Trump said in an interview this past weekend that Christian refugees should be given priority over people of other faiths, a position the bishops seemed to reject in their statement.

“The Church will not waiver in her defense of our sisters and brothers of all faiths who suffer at the hands of merciless persecutors,” the archbishops said.

The executive order gives priority to “religious minorities” experiencing persecution who are seeking entry into the United States.

The statement comes after a weekend of protests and statements from other Catholic officials who expressed concern over the executive order that bans Syrian refugees from coming to the United States and which places a temporary hold on resettling migrants from other countries.

“Over the past several days, many brother bishops have spoken out in defense of God's people. We are grateful for their witness,” the archbishops said in their statement. “Now, we call upon all the Catholic faithful to join us as we unite our voices with all who speak in defense of human dignity.”

They said that their desire was to steer clear of politics, but said the issue of welcoming refugees is at the heart of the Christian faith.

“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,” they said. “Our actions must remind people of Jesus.”

“The actions of our government must remind people of basic humanity,” they continued. “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.”

E.Patrick Mosman
3 weeks 2 days ago

Where was the Church leader's, John McCain's and the liberal's outrage in 2011 when Barack Obama banned Iraqi refugees for six months, the sound of silence was deafening and silence signified assent.
NB Trumps executive order does not name or list the 7 countries, the the XO cited the law passed by Congress and signed by Obama that lists the four of the seven countries as source of terrorism, Obama added the rest on his own, no reaction from the press,the Church or the liberal rabble rousers.
The editors should study the following before commenting further.
Posted on January 29, 2017 by Paul Mirengoff in Immigration, National Security, Religion
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/01/trumps-immigration-order-…
Trump’s immigration order: myths and realities
Reasonable people can disagree about the wisdom of the Trump administration’s immigration order [NOTE: And the way it was implemented arguably left much to be desired]. But before agreeing or disagreeing, it’s important understand what the order does and does not do, and how it compares to recent policy.
David French does a good job of separating the facts from the hysteria. For the hysteria, French cites the usual suspects: Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, the Huffington Post, etc.
For the facts, and for perspective, French begins with this:

[T]he order temporarily halts refugee admissions for 120 days to improve the vetting process, then caps refugee admissions at 50,000 per year. Outrageous, right? Not so fast.
Before 2016, when Obama dramatically ramped up refugee admissions, Trump’s 50,000 stands roughly in between a typical year of refugee admissions in George W. Bush’s two terms and a typical year in Obama’s two terms. . . .In 2002, the United States admitted only 27,131 refugees. It admitted fewer than 50,000 in 2003, 2006, and 2007. As for President Obama, he was slightly more generous than President Bush, but his refugee cap from 2013 to 2015 was a mere 70,000, and in 2011 and 2012 he admitted barely more than 50,000 refugees himself.
The bottom line is that Trump is improving security screening and intends to admit refugees at close to the average rate of the 15 years before Obama’s dramatic expansion in 2016. Obama’s expansion was a departure from recent norms, not Trump’s contraction.

About the 90-day ban on people entering the U.S. from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, French has this to say:

[T]hese are countries either torn apart by jihadist violence or under the control of hostile, jihadist governments. The ban is in place while the Department of Homeland Security determines the information needed from any country to adjudicate any visa, admission, or other benefit under the INA (adjudications) in order to determine that the individual seeking the benefit is who the individual claims to be and is not a security or public-safety threat. It could, however, be extended or expanded depending on whether countries are capable of providing the requested information.
The ban, however, contains an important exception: Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked. In other words, the secretaries can make exceptions — a provision that would, one hopes, fully allow interpreters and other proven allies to enter the U.S. during the 90-day period.
To the extent this ban applies to new immigrant and non-immigrant entry, this temporary halt (with exceptions) is wise. We know that terrorists are trying to infiltrate the ranks of refugees and other visitors. We know that immigrants from Somalia, for example, have launched jihadist attacks here at home and have sought to leave the U.S. to join ISIS.
Indeed, given the. . .recent track record of completed and attempted terror attacks by Muslim immigrants, it’s clear that our current approach is inadequate to control the threat. Unless we want to simply accept Muslim immigrant terror as a fact of American life, a short-term ban on entry from problematic countries combined with a systematic review of our security procedures is both reasonable and prudent.

French opposes application of the ban to green-card holders because they have already gone through round after round of vetting. He notes, however, that Trump’s order, by its terms, doesn’t apply to them. Thus, the administration should intervene to stop the misapplication of its order to green-card holders. If it doesn’t, “it should indeed be condemned,” French says.
What about the indefinite hold on admitting Syrian refugees? French finds this to be fairly inconsequential — a return, largely, to the Obama administration’s practices from 2011 to 2014:

For all the Democrats’ wailing and gnashing of teeth, until 2016 the Obama administration had already largely slammed the door on Syrian-refugee admissions. The Syrian Civil War touched off in 2011. Here are the Syrian-refugee admissions to the U.S. until Obama decided to admit more than 13,000 in 2016:Fiscal Year 2011: 29Fiscal Year 2012: 31Fiscal Year 2013: 36Fiscal Year 2014: 105Fiscal Year 2015: 1,682.
To recap: While the Syrian Civil War was raging, ISIS was rising, and refugees were swamping Syria’s neighbors and surging into Europe, the Obama administration let in less than a trickle of refugees. Only in the closing days of his administration did President Obama reverse course — in numbers insufficient to make a dent in the overall crisis, by the way — and now the Democrats have the audacity to tweet out pictures of bleeding Syrian children?
It’s particularly gross to see this display when the Obama administration’s deliberate decision to leave a yawning power vacuum — in part through its Iraq withdrawal and in part through its dithering throughout the Syrian Civil War — exacerbated the refugee crisis in the first place. There was a genocide on Obama’s watch, and his tiny trickle of Syrian refugees hardly makes up for the grotesque negligence of abandoning Iraq and his years-long mishandling of the emerging Syrian crisis.
When we know our enemy is seeking to strike America and its allies through the refugee population, when we know they’ve succeeded in Europe, and when the administration has doubts about our ability to adequately vet the refugees we admit into this nation, a pause is again not just prudent but arguably necessary.

B & M NELSON
3 weeks 2 days ago

Carter also deported people who were here, in that sense Trump is being relatively charitable.

J Cosgrove
3 weeks 1 day ago

Senator Schumer said there should be a pause in refugees from Syria

http://bit.ly/2kb36B6

How soon we forget!! But hypocrisy seems to part of his character.

PS - who is responsible for finding all the sentimental photos. Are you expecting people to make decisions based on their emotions and not reason. How unlike the Jesuits I knew who taught me.

Then

President Trump said in an interview this past weekend that Christian refugees should be given priority over people of other faiths, a position the bishops seemed to reject in their statement.

PPS - Is this a Catholic or even a Christian magazine? If any statement indicates it isn't, the above statement is conclusive and indicates that America is just a political organ of the left. It cannot give Trump credit for helping Syrian Christians.

Michael Appleton
3 weeks 1 day ago

I would have much preferred expressions of solidarity by the entire NCCB during the presidential election campaign. Had the American bishops looked beyond their one-trick moral pony and recognised that voters must be informed by issues beyond abortion, we might not now be witnessing the amateurish machinations of a spoiled child whose moral compass, to the extent that it exists, is perpetually pointed due self and who regards the presidency as the ultimate sound stage for a bigger and better reality TV production, combining "alternative facts" with alternative law to create an alternative reality. As a lawyer, my view is that the order is unlawful and at least partially unconstitutional, not, of course, that that matters in our emerging dystopia.

Derrick Weiller
3 weeks 1 day ago

Nice going, Michael...
It had to be said.
All of it!

Henry George
3 weeks 1 day ago

Other Presidents have issued such orders, yes without the drama, but
issued nonetheless. America Magazine has a duty to put Trump's Order
into perspective.

As for Top U.S. Bishops - I did not know the American Hierarchy had
a Hierarchy, I thought each Bishop was supreme in his own Diocese.

Christians have been persecuted by Muslims since 640 AD. Now there
are Muslims determined to extinguish Christianity in the Middle East.
As such, I do think Christian Refugees deserve first consideration as
their only refuge is in a Christian nation. Those Muslims who are also being persecuted may be able to find refuge in Muslim Nations.
If not let them apply for Refuge in America..

Where is/has been the U.N. in all of this ?

Stuart Meisenzahl
2 weeks 4 days ago

Henry
"TOP BISHOPS" are very simply those Bishops who agree with the position of The Editors of America.
Not so top Bishops are those who don't agree or have failed to speak up. America's Editors bias is glaringly obvious in its headlines.

Vincent Gaglione
3 weeks 1 day ago

Trump’s regulations vis-a-vis the ban on entry for people from 7 Muslim majority nations are a foreign policy and political issue. They also strike at a narrative of the American identity as a nation welcoming immigrants and refugees. Angela Merkel of Germany has already pointed to obligations to refugees under the Geneva Conventions. For Christians, however, those regulations also, even if only a pause, disobey the moral obligation to welcome strangers as defined in Matthew 25.

Depending on your political persuasion reaction to Trump’s regulations typify the political divide in the United States. Popular favorability to the new regulations, however, bear no relationship to the realities that exist, only to Trump’s definitions of those realities. For those who would like to read a description of control of entry into the United States, the NY Times had an informative article:
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/30/us/politics/trump-executive-order-im…

Some of the comments being written here seem more concerned that Trump is being politically assaulted for his regulations and less about the moral implications of what he has done. It’s a strange paradox from citizens who themselves keep referring to abortion politics even as the discussion is about refugees and immigrants. In a comment that I wrote on a contact page to the USCCB this past Saturday I noted that the nation’s Bishops’ silence on the moral dimension to the issue of Trump’s regulations has been deafening. With some spectacular hubris I also commented on seeing in my mind’s eyes the film footage of German Catholic Bishops giving Nazi salutes during the Hitler years.

So I commend the leadership of the USCCB for their statement. I yearn to hear more than an allusion to the moral dimensions. As has been the case regarding abortion politics during the past 30 years, I’d like to hear the definitions of moral obligations by Catholics to the issue.

E.Patrick Mosman
3 weeks 1 day ago

"Trump’s regulations vis-a-vis the ban on entry for people from 7 Muslim majority nations are a foreign policy and political issue."
Of course they are as
President Trump ordered the enforcement of an existing law passed by Congress, signed by President Obama who added several added Countries to the list of terrorist States. Since when is enforcing an existing Federal law an offense against law abiding American citizens. Do the research, learn the facts before judging the President. There was no requirement to announce his action.

"They also strike at a narrative of the American identity as a nation welcoming immigrants and refugees."
"We are a nation of immigrants."
A much used canard to justify illegal entry as actually America is a nation of legal immigrants who arrived here through government immigration locations, Ellis Island in New York for one. Immigration police patrolled the streets of New York with authority to ask individuals for their immigration papers and if they could not produce proof of legal entry they were arrested and deported. Most while while holding on to their homeland's customs, became Americans, learned English, voted legally, raised their children as Americans and insisted on a good education and never returned to their country of origin. The Federal government's failure to enforce its own immigration laws and to secure the borders has completely shredded the ideal that the USA is a nation of laws by allowing and funding individuals and religions to aid and abet illegal(immigration) activities.

"Angela Merkel of Germany has already pointed to obligations to refugees under the Geneva Conventions."
Ms Merkel's open borders policy is an absolute failure and may lead to her defeat in the upcoming election hardly a role model for America to follow.

"For Christians, however, those regulations also, even if only a pause, disobey the moral obligation to welcome strangers as defined in Matthew 25."
There is no moral obligation or requirement for any individual or State to welcome a potentially dangerous person or persons into their house or State. At no time in history except fora short time in the Obama years has America a operated with an 'all are welcome' open door immigration policy.

Vincent Gaglione
3 weeks 1 day ago

You wrote: "Since when is enforcing an existing Federal law an offense against law abiding American citizens. " I never questioned his authority to do it. Your apparent conclusion from what I did write is bizarre.

You wrote: "A much used canard to justify illegal entry as actually America is a nation of legal immigrants who arrived here through government immigration locations, Ellis Island in New York for one. " Well I personally knew one individual who lived here the majority of his adult life after escaping Italy for committing a murder, jumped ship, and lived here without interference for his life, my father's Godfather no less! Your naivete on the issue is apparent.

You wrote: " Ms Merkel's open borders policy is an absolute failure and may lead to her defeat ..." I referred to Merkel's comments on the Geneva Conventions. I was not discussing her political future. The Geneva Conventions have nothing to do with German political outcomes.

You wrote: "There is no moral obligation or requirement for any individual or State ..." I think that your understanding of Matthew 25 lacks Christian maturity and charity, which hopefully through your rereading of the Bishops' statement you might acquire.

E.Patrick Mosman
3 weeks ago

" I never questioned his authority to do it. Your apparent conclusion from what I did write is bizarre."
Actually what you wrote had nothing to do with the the temporary visa controls from 7 countries identified by Congress and President Obama as "Terrorists States". Any American President concerned with America's defense would have or in the case of Obama should have done the same. What exactly was your point?

"You wrote: "A much used canard to justify illegal entry as actually America is a nation of legal immigrants who arrived here through government immigration locations, Ellis Island in New York for one. " Well I personally knew one individual who lived here the majority of his adult life after escaping Italy for committing a murder, jumped ship, and lived here without interference for his life, my father's Godfather no less! Your naivete on the issue is apparent."
Actually your defense of hiding, defending and even bragging on keeping an illegal alien a murderer is beyond any rational defense of 'open borders." Your example is exactly the type of individual that should never entered the USA, that should have been searched out and deported.
You wrote: " Ms Merkel's open borders policy is an absolute failure and may lead to her defeat ..." I referred to Merkel's comments on the Geneva Conventions. I was not discussing her political future. The Geneva Conventions have nothing to do with German political outcomes."
Well now my comment was on Merkel's ideas,comments on any international problems are becoming increasingly less important as a result of her disastrous immigration policy.

You wrote: "There is no moral obligation or requirement for any individual or State ..."
"I think that your understanding of Matthew 25 lacks Christian maturity and charity, which hopefully through your rereading of the Bishops' statement you might acquire."
My reading of Matthew reflects my understanding of Christ's teachings and i find no evidence in Matthew or any gospel story of an obligation for an individual or State to risk the life(lives) a person or one's family or the citizens of a State to aid a stranger. Perhaps you could cite where Jesus taught the one must risk his life and others for a stranger.
Jesus Christ made the point “to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s” with no guidelines as to how the Romans were to spend the tax monies. “For you will have the poor always with you” Matthew 26.11 and nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus Christ lay the responsibility for caring for the poor, the sick the hungry or thirsty, the homeless or any oppressed people on any governmental body. He did not cite King Herod, the priests of the temple, the local politicians or the Roman powers as the source of Charity. He made it an individual responsibility time after time in His sermons, in His parables and in His own acts. The Good Samaritan was not an example of “Love thy neighbor” because he stopped at the inn to make a 911 call but because he acted, providing aid, comfort and financial assistance to his neighbor. Jesus Christ’s teachings cannot be used be used to support states becoming the major or only source of charitable acts for one and all.

Vincent Gaglione
3 weeks ago

And, as you probably have figured out, I respectfully disagree!

Michael Barberi
2 weeks 4 days ago

I did not vote for Trump or Clinton as both were very flawed candidates. Nor am I a Republican or Democrat. I am an independent and like some Democratic and Republican policies.

As for Trump, I will judge his policies as they are fully implemented, and not judge him by his rhetoric (which I hope will significantly improve).

As for his initial executive order on immigration, it is clear to me that many are judging it in exaggeration. It is a "90 day pause or ban" of any immigrant from 7 countries in the Middle East and Africa. These countries were the same countries that Obama and Congress agreed were countries where terrorism flourishes. The 90 days was needed so that his administration could review the existing vetting process and make improvements. The media, Democrats and the NCCB are turning this into a claim that it is anti-Muslim, anti-American Values, and a violation of Christ's commandment to 'welcome the stranger'. I find this debate and rhetoric intellectually unpersuasive and reflective of how polarized we are as Americans and as Catholics. There seems to be no voice of reason that can bridge the divide.

Make no mistake about what I am saying. I believe that most immigrates fleeing poverty, war-torn countries, violence and discrimination should be allowed to enter the US after a reasonable and effective vetting process. I also believe in quotas, but we should increase the present number of immigrants entering the US because of humanitarian reasons. Keep in mind that last year under Obama, only about 13,000 immigrants from these countries were allowed to enter the US. When this happened, the NCCB did not call this anti-Muslim or anti-Welcome-the-Stranger. Unfortunately, the NCCB seems to be ignoring the fact that Trump will allow about 50,000 immigrants to enter the US this year. In time, I hope the US will significantly increase this number as we wrestle with homeland security issues and terrorism, and the commandment to love and serve God by loving and serving our neighbor.

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