MADISON -- The Wisconsin Catholic Conference (WCC), public policy arm of the state’s Catholic bishops, issued an action alert on February 3 calling on concerned citizens to take action in solidarity with refugees.
The WCC said that President Donald Trump has issued an Executive Order with “devastating impacts on refugee resettlement in the United States.”
It pointed out that 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 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 WCC alert said that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and its immigration advocacy partner, Justice for Immigrants (JFI), are asking Catholics to contact President Trump and their members of Congress, urging them to support our nation’s refugee system and to reevaluate the Executive Order.
The U.S. refugee resettlement program is a life-saving program for the most vulnerable of the world’s refugees, the WCC alert said.
“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,” said the alert.
“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 . . . the need for the U.S. to show leadership in welcoming refugees and provide freedom from persecution is more urgent than ever.”
The WCC pointed out that refugees go through a rigorous, extensive vetting process.
The Executive Order halts the arrival of 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,” said the WCC.