President Donald Trump’s executive memorandum intended to restrict the entry of terrorists coming to the United States brought an outcry from Catholic leaders across the US.
Church leaders used phrases such as “devastating,” “chaotic” and “cruel” to describe the 27th January action that left already-approved refugees and immigrants stranded at US airports and led the Department of Homeland Security to rule that green card holders – lawful permanent US residents – be allowed into the country.
“This weekend proved to be a dark moment in US history,” Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich said in a 29th January statement. “The executive order to turn away refugees and to close our nation to those, particularly Muslims, fleeing violence, oppression and persecution is contrary to both Catholic and American values. Have we not repeated the disastrous decisions of those in the past who turned away other people fleeing violence, leaving certain ethnicities and religions marginalised and excluded? We Catholics know that history well, for, like others, we have been on the other side of such decisions.
“Their design and implementation have been rushed, chaotic, cruel and oblivious to the realities that will produce enduring security for the United States,” he said. “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. Only at the 11th hour did a federal judge intervene to suspend this unjust action.”
“The Protection of the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” which suspends the entire US refugee resettlement program for 120 days, bans entry from all citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries – Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia – for 90 days. It also establishes a religious criteria for refugees, proposing to give priority to religious minorities over others who may have equally compelling refugee claims.
“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,” said Cardinal Cupich. “Ironically, this ban does not include the home country of 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers. Yet, people from Iraq, even those who assisted our military in a destructive war, are excluded.”
Picture: People in New York City participate in a 29th January protest against President Donald Trump’s travel ban. (CNS photo/Stephanie Keith, Reuters).