Catholic Conference of Ohio The official representative of the Catholic Church in public matters affecting the Church and the general welfare of the citizens of Ohio.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

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Let Lawmakers Know Your Support for Immigrants and Refugees

USCCB's Justice for Immigrants Issues Action Alert

Background: 
President Donald Trump has issued an Executive Order that has devastating impacts on refugee resettlement in the United States. The Executive Order:

  • Halts the entire refugee admissions program for 120 days to determine additional security vetting procedures;
  • Cuts the number of refugees admitted in FY 2017 from 110,000 to 50,000;
  • Suspends resettlement of refugees from Syria;
  • Suspends the issuance of visas to individuals from countries of concern, including Syria, Iraq, Iran and other countries.

The U.S. refugee resettlement program is a life-saving program for the most vulnerable of the world's refugees. Welcoming people fleeing violence and conflict in various regions of the world is part of our identity as Catholics. We seek to protect the vulnerable and recognize the human dignity of all. Moreover, when the United States through its resettlement program shares responsibility with refugee host countries, it helps the refugees, supports the countries, and helps to enhance peace, security, and stability to sensitive regions in the world. Today, with more than 65 million people forcibly displaced from their homes, the need for the U.S. to show leadership in welcoming refugees and provide freedom from persecution is more urgent than ever.

Refugees who come through the program go through a rigorous, extensive vetting process. The Executive Order halts the arrival of refugees for at least 120 days, including those who have already gone through up to two years of vetting. This will affect some families already in transit. Standing up for refugees and for the life-saving resettlement program is consistent with our values as Americans and as Catholics.

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USCCB Chairman Strongly Opposes Executive Order Because It Harms Vulnerable Refugee and Immigrant Families

U.S. Catholic Bishops will redouble their support for, and efforts to protect, all who flee persecution and violence

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the Committee on Migration, stated:

“We strongly disagree with the Executive Order’s halting refugee admissions. We believe that now more than ever, welcoming newcomers and refugees is an act of love and hope. We will continue to engage the new administration, as we have all administrations for the duration of the current refugee program, now almost forty years. We will work vigorously to ensure that refugees are humanely welcomed in collaboration with Catholic Charities without sacrificing our security or our core values as Americans, and to ensure that families may be reunified with their loved ones.”

“The United States has long provided leadership in resettling refugees. We believe in assisting all those who are vulnerable and fleeing persecution, regardless of their religion.   This includes Christians, as well as Yazidis and Shia Muslims from Syria, Rohingyas from Burma, and other religious minorities. However, we need to protect all our brothers and sisters of all faiths, including Muslims, who have lost family, home, and country. They are children of God and are entitled to be treated with human dignity. We believe that by helping to resettle the most vulnerable, we are living out our Christian faith as Jesus has challenged us to do.”

“Today, more than 65 million people around the world are forcibly displaced from their homes. Given this extraordinary level of suffering, the U.S. Catholic Bishops will redouble their support for, and efforts to protect, all who flee persecution and violence, as just one part of the perennial and global work of the Church in this area of concern.”

Full Statement

Catholic Social Teaching on Immigration

Support Urged for the Federal BRIDGE Act to Protect Immigrant Children

USCCB, CHA Encourage emails to Congress


The BRIDGE (Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy) Act, S.128/H.R. 496, was recently introduced in Congress as a bipartisan effort to sustain the temporary relief from deportation and employment eligibility offered to youth through the Department of Homeland Security's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Under the BRIDGE Act, young people who came to the United States as children would maintain their eligibility to work and live in the U.S. without the fear of deportation and family separation so long as they meet certain requirements, such as showing a commitment to education or honorable service in our military and having no history of serious crime.

Email your U.S. Representative and Senators

Committee On Migration Chair Strongly Opposes Administration’s Announcement To Build A Wall At U.S.-Mexico Border, Increase Detention And Deportation Forces

Catholic Church will continue to support and stand in solidarity with immigrant families

Bishop Joe Vasquez, Chair of the Committee of Migration and Bishop of the Diocese of Austin, stated:

"I am disheartened that the President has prioritized building a wall on our border with Mexico. This action will put immigrant lives needlessly in harm's way. Construction of such a wall will only make migrants, especially vulnerable women and children, more susceptible to traffickers and smugglers. Additionally, the construction of such a wall destabilizes the many vibrant and beautifully interconnected communities that live peacefully along the border. Instead of building walls, at this time, my brother bishops and I will continue to follow the example of Pope Francis. We will "look to build bridges between people, bridges that allow us to break down the walls of exclusion and exploitation.'"

"The announced increase in immigrant detention space and immigration enforcement activities is alarming. It will tear families apart and spark fear and panic in communities. While we respect the right of our federal government to control our borders and ensure security for all Americans, we do not believe that a large scale escalation of immigrant detention and intensive increased use of enforcement in immigrant communities is the way to achieve those goals. Instead, we remain firm in our commitment to comprehensive, compassionate, and common-sense reform. We fear that the policies announced today will make it much more difficult for the vulnerable to access protection in our country. Everyday my brother bishops and I witness the harmful effects of immigrant detention in our ministries. We experience the pain of severed families that struggle to maintain a semblance of normal family life. We see traumatized children in our schools and in our churches. The policies announced today will only further upend immigrant families."

"We will continue to support and stand in solidarity with immigrant families. We remind our communities and our nation that these families have intrinsic value as children of God. And to all those impacted by today's decision, we are here to walk with you and accompany you on this journey."

Full Statement

USCCB Migration & Refugee Services Information

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Prayer for Immigrants

MERCIFUL AND LOVING FATHER,

We beseech you, open our hearts so that we may provide hospitality and refuge to migrants who are lonely, afraid, and far from their homes.

Give us the courage to welcome every stranger as Christ in our midst, to invite them into our communities as a demonstration of Christ’s love for us.

We pray that when we encounter the other, we see in her the face of your Son, when we meet a stranger, that we take his hand in welcome.

Help us to live in solidarity with one another, to seek justice for those who are persecuted and comfort for those who are suffering.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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