President Trump’s executive order temporarily halting immigration because of the job market and coronavirus has been strongly criticised by the Catholic Bishops of the United States.
“In this moment, our common humanity is apparent more now than ever”, the response begins. The bishops cited Pope Francis’s invitation to meet the current international crisis with the “creativity of love”. They warn that the “President’s action threatens instead to fuel polarization and animosity”.
This statement by the bishops was supported by many other organisations.
Covid demands unity not division
The bishops said that:
“While we welcome efforts to ensure that all Americans are recognized for the dignity of their work, the global crisis caused by COVID-19 demands unity and the creativity of love, not more division and the indifference of a throw-away mentality. There is little evidence that immigrants take away jobs from citizens. Immigrants and citizens together are partners in reviving the nation’s economy. We must always remember that we are all sons and daughters of God joined together as one human family.”
Donna Markham, O.P., the president and chief executive officer of Catholic Charities USA, deplored Trump’s use of coronavirus to attack migrants:
“While we understand the desire to protect people from further exposure to the Covid-19 virus, we should not sacrifice our humanity in our willingness to welcome others. We are a nation of immigrants,” she said in a statement released on April 23.
Jill Marie Bussey, the director of advocacy at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., said that:
“The pandemic and its economic fallout, like other societal problems in this country, should not be blamed on immigrants. At this pivotal moment, we need leadership, truth, unity and pragmatism that rises above politics. Lives are at stake, yet the president continues to stoke fear and racism, using human beings as fodder. We are a nation of immigrants and we will not be divided.”
Trump targets family members
The statement of the US Bishops says that the new policy of Trump primarily targets family members of persons holding U.S. permanent residence who live outside of the U.S. and are seeking to immigrate.
Lastly, the Bishops stated their concern about “how the proclamation will impact immigrant families” seeking reunification with family members already in the U.S.
In addition, the measure would block those seeking entrance into the U.S. for religious purposes. This, they concluded, “will undoubtedly hurt the Catholic Church and other denominations in the United States, diminishing their overall ability to minister to those in need.”
The statement was signed by the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles, along with the Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration and the Chair of the Board of Director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network.
This is just one of several statements by the US Catholic bishops lambasting the immigration policies of President Trump.
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