Cardinal Joe: Trump’s Immoral Wall Threatens Lives, Is Based on Lies and Anti-Immigrant Agenda

Cardinal Joseph Tobin writes:

A wall would probably drive them into more remote areas of the desert or mountains, possibly to their deaths, as the forces driving them — violence, persecution and extreme poverty — are more life threatening than a risky border crossing. In fact, close to 8,000 migrants have died in Arizona and parts of Texas since the construction of the San Diego and El Paso sectors of the wall in the mid-1990s.

The latest arrivals at our border are primarily asylum seekers from the Northern Triangle of Central America, who, when they cross the border and ask for protection, are in compliance with both our domestic and our international laws — the Refugee Act of 1980 and the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and its 1967 protocols.

A wall would prevent asylum seekers from asking for protection at any point along our border — their right under the law — and would leave many of them at the mercy of drug cartels and other criminal groups in northern Mexico. More humane ways to achieve border security can be found to avoid these harmful consequences, through technology, additional legal avenues for entry and policies that address the factors pushing migration….

Other policies his administration has pursued, including family separation, the rollback of asylum laws, family detention, the elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and termination of Temporary Protected Status for most of its beneficiaries, show that the administration’s intent is to rid the United States of as many immigrants — legal or otherwise — as possible….

His justification for the wall is based upon lies and smears against the vast majority of immigrants who are law-abiding and moral, but whom he paints as less than human.

Trump’s Immigration Remarks Reflect His Bigotry

via AP:

Archbishop John C. Wester, the leader of New Mexico’s largest diocese said Wednesday he believes comments about immigration attributed to President Donald Trump “reflect bigotry” and that immigrants from poor countries made the U.S. great….

Last week, while meeting with lawmakers about a potential deal on immigration, Trump questioned why the U.S. should allow more people from Africa or Haiti.

Several people who attended the meeting said Trump disparaged those countries in vulgar, racially tinged terms. He also said he would prefer more immigrants come from countries such as Norway.

“Those kind of quotes reflect bigotry, and bigotry is just wrong, period,” Wester said. “We’re great because of the people who came from developing countries in past years, countries that were less fortunate, countries that may not have been able to do much for us.”

At the Washington Post, Michael Gerson writes:

Sometimes it is necessary to begin with the obvious. The claim that America needs more Norwegian immigrants and fewer Africans from “shithole countries” is racist. It is not the same as arguing for a higher-skilled immigrant pool. That argument might go something like: “We need a higher-skilled immigrant pool.”…

On this issue, Trump has not earned a single benefit of the doubt. His racial demagoguery in the Central Park Five case . . . his attribution of Kenyan citizenship to Barack Obama . . . his references to Mexican migrants as rapists and murderers . . . his unconstitutional attempt at a Muslim ban . . . his moral equivocation following the deadly protests in Charlottesville . . . his statement, reported by the New York Times, that Nigerians would never “go back to their huts” after seeing America . . . all of these constitute an elaborate pattern of bigotry. Trump makes offhand racist comments, he promotes racist stereotypes and he incites racism as a political strategy.

Trump Attacks Immigration from ‘Shithole’ Countries

via Washington Post:

President Trump grew frustrated with lawmakers Thursday in the Oval Office when they discussed granting entry to immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to several people briefed on the meeting.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to countries mentioned by the lawmakers.

Trump then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries like Norway, whose prime minister he met with Wednesday. The president, according to a White House official, also suggested he would be open to more immigrants from Asian countries because he felt they help the United States economically.

The remarks have sparked a strong backlash:

Whole Life Pope Identifies Immigration as a Pro-life Issue

Christopher White writes:

During his in-flight press conference en route home from Colombia, the pope recalled that “I heard the president of the United States introduce himself as a ‘pro-life’ man.

“A good pro-lifer understands that family is the cradle of life, and that its unity must be defended,” the pope said.

The pope’s remarks came in response to questions regarding Trump’s recent decision to rescind the DACA program, which protects qualified immigrants from deportation – a move the pope says he hopes the president will “rethink.”

While some Republicans and Trump supporters have pushed back against the Pope’s whole life approach, including the highly partisan Susan B. Anthony List, others have emphasized how valuable this approach is, including Millennial writer Nichole Flores:

“I’m surprised that he would address the situation so directly. But I’m also not surprised, because it is an essential part of the pastoral and prophetic witness of the Catholic faith,” she told Crux.

For Flores, the Church’s ability to offer a consistent ethic of life has the capacity to convert skeptical hearts and minds.

“In order to make a moral case for one of these issues, we have to make the moral case for all of the issues,” she said.

“To sacrifice one for the sake of staying within the bounds of a particular political party’s orthodoxy really erodes our ground for speaking prophetically and pastorally to another issue. And it really erodes the ground of the pro-life movement to not defend the lives of immigrants,” she added.

Millennial Catholics Mobilize against Trump’s Refugee Ban

Teresa Donnellan at America reports:

“All are welcome in this place,” a crowd of people sang in Lafayette Square outside of the White House this afternoon. More that 550 people gathered to attend a Mass organized by young Catholics and celebrated by Father Quinn Conners in Washington, D.C., to express their solidarity with refugees and immigrants.

The event was a result of grass-roots organization and social media promotion. After President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order banning immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, Emily Conron and her friend Christopher Hale decided to coordinate a Mass to show a Catholic response to this form of religious discrimination.

“As Catholics we understand what religious persecution is,” said Ms. Conron. “It’s part of our history. We’ve seen it in so many Catholic communities in so many countries, and we’re not willing to let history repeat itself. So we felt it was important for specifically Catholics to come together and show solidarity. And what better way to do that than in the Mass?”

At Crux, Inés San Martín writes:

“It was clear that people were aching for a way to gather and reflect and discern a path forward during these troubling times, and we were so happy that they were willing to jump into the boat with us and make this happen!” Conron said.

“Jesus was a refugee – and He was with us as we sang Be Not Afraid in front of the White House, doing our small part to show that people of faith will not be silent in the face of injustice,” she said.

Christopher Hale, from Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, was also among the organizers. He told Crux that after Sunday’s Mass, they were expecting some 1,000 people from “this organic group” to contact Speaker Paul Ryan, “the most powerful Catholic in the government.”

What Alexander Hamilton and Pope Francis Share on Immigration

Millennial writer Christopher White has a new article at Crux. He writes:

Today Europe faces a crisis on a scale never before seen—and the latest numbers reveal the situation to be getting worse. The month before Pope Francis traveled to Lesbos, almost 9,600 migrants attempted to cross the Mediterranean into Italy, more than four times as many as March of 2015.

Over the past year, over one million refugees have flooded into Europe. These displaced families are fleeing war-torn countries, persecution, and seeking greater opportunities on a continent that has been hesitant to accept them.

Moments before leaving Rome for to Greece, Pope Francis tweeted: “Refugees are not numbers, they are people who have faces, names, stories, and need to be treated as such.”…

The story of Hamilton, both in biography and on the Broadway stage, has softened the hearts of many to rediscover a life almost forgotten. By turning the attention of the world to the millions of migrants with similar stories, Francis is aiming for a related outcome.

“History has its eyes on you,” echoes one of the final refrains of Hamilton. This is not merely a statement about the show’s leading man; it’s one that turns us toward the present.

You can read the full article here.


Blessings From the Border: A Sojourners Q+A with Christopher Hale

Millennial co-founder Christopher Hale was recently interviewed by Sojourners:

Hammill: You mentioned earlier the social mission of the Catholic Church and how you want to lift that up. Would you mind going into a little detail about that?

Hale: The social mission of the Catholic Church can be reduced to the following: God became poor in Jesus Christ to save humanity, and we must do likewise. The social mission of the Catholic Church is about becoming poor for the poor. It communicates who God is, who Jesus is, who we’re called to be. For politics, it reverses things. It turns the world upside down.

Politics is inside out often — those closest to power get the most, those furthest away get the least. The Catholic social mission says that the last should be first, that God has a bias for the bottom. So our political policies should most benefit those who are on the fringes. It’s about turning our politics upside-down….

Hammill: Do you foresee any direct consequences from Pope Francis’ trip?

Hale: I think this trip will once again challenge the politicians of the United States to take action on immigration reform. While this trip is thousands of miles away from Washington, D.C., the only appropriate way to respond to this trip is in Washington, D.C. — what’s happening here at the border will hopefully translate into increased action and movement on immigration reform in the nation’s capital.

You can read the full interview here.