As President Trump tweaks his refugee ban in the hopes of it surviving legal challenges, here’s a reminder of the many reasons to oppose any refugee ban:
- It’s immoral and un-American. It violates Christian moral principles and turns away from the American aspiration of being the land of the free and the home of the brave. It contradicts the responsibilities toward refugees, migrants, and foreigners that are given to us in the Bible.
- It’s unnecessary. The vetting process is already rigorous.
- It’s motivated by xenophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry, and it violates religious freedom.
- Pope Francis is calling for the opposite approach.
- It violates pro-life principles, as Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark explains.
- ISIS loves it. It confirms their narrative of a war between the West and Islam. And it makes the US look weak and afraid.
- This should not be a partisan issue. There is a strong conservative case for welcoming refugees.
- It’s an alt-right scheme premised on changing demographics in the US, not protecting the American people (which is why so many counterterrorism and national security experts reject the ban).
- Catholics know the history of such bigotry and should be vigilant about confronting and opposing it.
- It’s legally dubious. Trump asked for a legal way to carry out his Muslim ban, a goal that isn’t legal. Given his intentions, it is not clear that even the revised ban is constitutional.
Meanwhile, Catholic leaders are already pushing back against the new executive order.
The USCCB (Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, Chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration) says:
The removal of one of the original seven predominantly Muslim countries temporarily barred from entering the United States is welcome, but we are disappointed that the revised order maintains the temporary shutdown of the U.S. refugee admissions program, continues the more than 60 percent reduction in the number of refugees who can be resettled into the United States this year, and still temporarily bars nationals from six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.
The U.S. Catholic Bishops have long recognized the importance of ensuring public safety and would welcome reasonable and necessary steps to accomplish that goal.
However, based on the knowledge that refugees are already subjected to the most vigorous vetting process of anyone who enters the United States, there is no merit to pausing the refugee resettlement program while considering further improvement to that vetting process.
Catholic Relief Services states:
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) opposes the new Executive Order on refugees, noting that while every Administration has an obligation to protect its citizens, the United States need not halt resettlement to undertake a security review.
“The fact is, refugees already undergo significant vetting – more than any other traveler to the United States,” said Bill O’Keefe, CRS’ Vice President for Advocacy…..
“By banning refugees and travel from Syria, Somalia, and Yemen, we are turning our backs on suffering people during their most difficult hours,” he said.
In Yemen, 17 million cannot adequately feed themselves. More than 13.5 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian assistance, in addition to the nearly 5 million refugees. And drought in Somalia has left 6.2 million people in need.
“As the world’s most blessed nation, we should be doing more to provide assistance overseas and resettle the most vulnerable, not less.” O’Keefe said. “It is wrong, during this time of great need, to cut humanitarian assistance and reduce resettlement.
“Refugees are fleeing the same terrorism that we seek to protect ourselves from,” he said. “By welcoming them, we show the world that we are an open, tolerant nation which seeks to protect the vulnerable. That has always been America’s greatest strength.”
Catholic Charities says:
Today, Sister Donna Markham OP, PhD, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), expressed her profound concern over the new Presidential Executive Order, entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.”
“At the heart of the work of Catholic Charities is the Gospel mandate to welcome the stranger and care for the most vulnerable among us,” said Sister Donna. “Today’s executive order not only hinders that work, but also effectively abandons, for four months, the thousands of endangered refugees fleeing violence, starvation and persecution. It is deeply disturbing to know that the thousands of women, children and other persecuted individuals around the world will face a closed door rather than a helping hand from the United States,” Sister Donna continued.