The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) is deeply disturbed by many of President Trump’s recent executive orders. His misplaced priorities and denigration of the values that form the bedrock of this nation, threaten us all.
We are deeply concerned about the administration’s executive orders on immigration and refugee resettlement which serve only to threaten border communities, force our immigrant community members further into the shadows, and endanger those fleeing violence. These misguided executive orders do nothing to make anyone more secure and may well have the opposite effect.
Spending billions of dollars on an unnecessary and ineffective wall and further militarizing the border will divert funding from health, education, and social programs and will not make America safe again. In fact, such action threatens the health and well-being of border communities, the environment, and those seeking refuge in our country. President Trump’s orders, if enacted, will tear families apart, challenge our already stressed immigration courts, and deny those fleeing persecution and violence their right to asylum; all at enormous cost to our treasure and our souls.
The president’s attempt to enhance public safety in the interior by cutting federal funding to sanctuary cities and counties will have the opposite effect. It challenges local authority and threatens to destroy the hard won trust of the immigrant community. The order eviscerates prosecutorial discretion and places every undocumented person in the country in danger of immediate deportation.
Finally, we are appalled by President Trump’s order whichbans residents of seven Muslim majority countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days, suspends refugee resettlement entirely for four months, and bars resettlement of Syrian refugees indefinitely. This is unconscionable in the face of the unprecedented global refugee crisis. More than 61 million people have been displaced from their homes, more than at any time since World War II. Some 21 million are refugees; most are children who have been forced from their homes by unthinkable violence. The Trump administration has forced all of us to turn our backs on families who are literally running for their lives.
This nation has a long history of welcoming immigrants and sheltering refugees. Women religious have been blessed to be able to accompany and serve immigrant and refugee communities across this country for a very long time. Catholic sisters remain committed to welcoming refugees who come to this country after passing through the U.S. government’s already rigorous screening processes. Halting or undermining the U.S. refugee resettlement program leaves vulnerable refugees, including women and children fleeing violence, in extreme danger and diminishes us all.
We strongly object to President Trump’s attempts to limit our ability to heed God’s call to welcome the stranger (Mt. 25:35) and to care for those most in need (Mt 25:40) and we are particularly concerned about rules and regulations that deny access to refugees because of their religion, race, or nationality. It is a violation of our faith and every norm of humanity.
We vow to continue to welcome refugees and minister to immigrants. LCWR and its members will continue to press for restoration of refugee resettlement, relief for families, an end to needless deportations, and the closure of all family detention centers. We will continue to advocate for compassionate, bipartisan legislation that fixes our broken immigration system. We will continue to stand in solidarity with families, regardless of immigration status, who labor daily to provide safety and security for their children.
LCWR is an association of leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States. The conference has nearly 1300 members, who represent more than 38,800 women religious in the United States. Founded in 1956, LCWR assists its members to collaboratively carry out their service of leadership to further the mission of the Gospel in today’s world.
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We have all been encouraged by the many people, including many women religious, who have participated in marches and vigils and protests across this country. Your promise of welcome and shouts for justice are appreciated. Thank you for your continued commitment to stand up and speak out.
Our members of Congress and elected leaders at every level need to be challenged to do what is right and just. We know they listen carefully to the voices of their constituents. Please stand with us as we stand with refugees and immigrants. Call your members of Congress, (202) 224-3121and tell them that you are constituent, a Catholic sister, and that you will stand with refugees and immigrants of every faith. Ask him/her to stand with you and for our American values which demand that we be an open, inclusive, welcoming community.