Lexington Bishop John Stowe, who serves as Bishop Liaison for the Catholic Committee of Appalachia, issued a statement on the Trump administration’s recent executive order on immigration. The statement, published on January 30, 2017, reads as follows:
Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv., Bishop of Lexington, denounces the president’s executive order halting the admission of refugees who are fleeing persecution and the threat of death in their home countries. The president’s ban on Syrian refugees is particularly troubling as the Syrian refugees are part of a humanitarian crisis not of their own making.We pray for the new administration to review our nation’s history and uphold its founding ideals. It is important to recognize the significant and thorough vetting refugees are already subjected to before being issued visas to enter the US. As people of faith, we are required to follow the example of Jesus who reminds us in Matthew 25 of the criteria for our final judgment.
The USCCB’s chairman of the Committee on Migration, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, 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.”
Regarding the Executive Order’s ban on Syrian refugees, the prioritization of religious minorities suffering from religious persecution, Bishop Vásquez added:
“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.”
Moving forward after the announcement, Bishop Vásquez concluded:
“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.”