Trump signs memorandums on border wall, more federal immigration agents, targeting sanctuary cities [and AmChurch goes ballistic]

Trump signs memorandums on border wall, more federal immigration agents, targeting sanctuary cities [and AmChurch goes ballistic]

January 25, 2017
By Barb Fraze
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump enacted two executive memorandums to deal with the country’s security, including one that calls for construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“This will stem the flow of drugs, crime and illegal immigration” along the southern border, said White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who reiterated that Mexico will end up paying for the wall. The memorandum also would create more detention space for people who illegally cross into the United States, he said.

Spicer said Trump would work with Congress on finding money to pay for the construction, noting, “there are a lot of funding mechanisms that can be used.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has formed a working group to closely monitor executive memorandums and legislation on immigration, but no reaction from the bishops was available immediately after Trump signed the memorandums Jan. 25 at the Department of Homeland Security.

However, Bill O’Keefe, vice president for government relations and advocacy at Catholic Relief Services, which works in Central America, said Catholics “cannot escape our responsibility to the poor and vulnerable who are suffering around the world.”

“Our position consistently has been while nations have a right to maintain their borders, people fleeing violence, as we in Central America see every day … we have a responsibility to welcome them as refugees and offer them safe protection,” he told Catholic News Service hours before Trump signed the memorandums.

O’Keefe said the United States, “the richest and most powerful country,” must address the needs of people who “for circumstances outside of their control are forced to flee to our shores.” The country’s actions could include doing more “to address the root causes of migration by helping governments and civil society to meet their own needs.”

Trump’s second executive memorandum directed John F. Kelly, secretary of homeland security, to look at how federal funding streams can be cut for cities and states that illegally harbor immigrants. Spicer said the so-called “sanctuary cities” create a problem for taxpayers.

“You have American people out there working” and their tax funds are sent to places that do not enforce the law, he said at the White House briefing Jan. 25.

The executive memorandums did not address the issue of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, nor did they discuss emigration from the Middle East, which Spicer said would be addressed later in the week.

In 2006, President George W. Bush signed the Secure Fence Act, which authorized several hundred miles of fencing along the 2,000-mile U.S. frontier with Mexico. The Associated Press reported that legislation led to the construction of about 700 miles of various kinds of fencing designed to block both vehicles and pedestrians, primarily in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. It said the final sections were completed after President Barack Obama took office in 2009.

AP reported that a 1970 treaty with Mexico requires that structures along the border cannot disrupt the flow of rivers that define the U.S.-Mexican border along Texas and 24 miles in Arizona.

During a February 2016 visit to Mexico, Pope Francis traveled to the U.S. border at Ciudad Juarez and pleaded for the plight of immigrants. He said those who refuse to offer safe shelter and passage were bringing about dishonor and self-destruction as their hearts hardened and they “lost their sensitivity to pain.”

During a Jan. 12 conference call promoting National Migration Week, Jan. 8-14, Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration, said it was “important to respect the security of this nation … but never to lose that human face to this reality” of migration.

“People are suffering. People want to be welcome. People want to be a part of this great American society,” Bishop Vasquez said.

“We need to bring about some change,” he added. “We hope the president will work with us and with Congress as well to pass some laws that will be humane and respectful.”

The PICO National Network, the largest network of congregations and faith-based groups in the country, including Catholics, challenged the executive memorandum on sanctuary cities.

“Retaliating against local communities because they refuse to follow immoral policies is part of an emerging pattern of President Trump of not only bullying people who dare to disagree with him, but isolating and further marginalizing people who are different than him,” said Eddie Carmona, campaign director for PICO National Network’s LA RED campaign. “Such behavior is inconsistent with the long-held notion that America was a place of opportunity for all.”

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16 comments on “Trump signs memorandums on border wall, more federal immigration agents, targeting sanctuary cities [and AmChurch goes ballistic]

  1. [From the USCCCP Twitter]

    Migration Chair Strongly Opposes Administration’s Announcement to Build Wall at Mexico Border, Increase Detention and Deportation Forces

    1/25/17

    null

  2. The Bishops are really going to howl, when their slush fund to the tune of 500 million tax payer dollars used to bring in illegals, refugees, Muslims and potential terrorists into the US is about to be cut off. Catholic Charities and Catholic relief services are big beneficiaries . I find amusing that they are complaining how we have to bring in those in Central America suffering oppression, when Pope Francis just said the other day that Liberation Theology was great for Latin America. Maybe all the MS 13 gang members are here causing havoc, and Latin American is the workers paradise under Liberation Theology and the Jesuits. Let the Catholic Church pay for the refugees and illegals if they want them here so badly. Get ready for the third collection or extra Bishops slush fund collection at a local parish near you.

  3. A few times this week I thought I heard popcorn popping, or maybe a gun range at a distance. Then I figured it out. It’s liberals’ heads exploding everywhere you turn.

  4. Here, I rewrote a quote from the article:

    However, Bill O’Keefe, vice president for government relations and advocacy at Catholic Relief Services, said Catholics “cannot escape our responsibility to the poor and vulnerable who are about to be expelled from their mothers’ wombs.”

    “Our position consistently has been while moms have a right to reproductive freedom, babies fleeing abortion, as we see every day at PP … we have a responsibility to welcome them as refugees and offer them safe protection,” he told Catholic News Service hours before Trump signed the memorandums.

  5. [From AmChurch-Arizona; hat-tip to Canon212]

    Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference Statement on Immigration and Refugee Executive Orders

    In light of recent and expected federal executive orders, the Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference (ACC) reaffirm our commitment to accompanying and supporting the vulnerable in our society, including immigrants and refugees.

    We have long believed, and continue to maintain, that comprehensive immigration reform is the best and most appropriate solution for addressing immigration issues.

    Accordingly, we urge our elected officials to seek solutions that will not only help with national security, but also facilitate family unification and assist immigrant “dreamers” who, although born elsewhere, were brought to this country at a young age and know no other country. Similarly, our hearts and prayers go out to refugee families who have faced terrible violence and lost their own homes and now need a new place to live.

    Focusing on building a new border wall has the potential to take us away from these important considerations that impact vulnerable families and will ultimately be useless. Pope Francis has called for bridges, not walls, between people.

    It is our fervent hope, therefore, that the federal government refocus its efforts on comprehensive immigration reform that will benefit not only these families, but also our entire country.

    • With 20 Trillion in debt and rising how are the Bishops planning to pay for this ? Extra collections ? Bishops get real and stop living in a fairy tale world. Where is the money ? More taxes ? More out of work Americans? More displaced and homeless veterans ? Stop the BS and wake up ! The money is gone . The Obama days of ripping off taxpayers and piling on more debt to bring in illegals is over . You all live in a dream world .

  6. [From AmChurch Prez Cardinal DiNardo; hat-tip to Canon212]

    Statement from Cardinal DiNardo re: President Trump’s Immigration Policies

    January 25, 2017

    Today President Donald Trump made several announcements which deeply concern me. These include issuing an executive order to construct a wall at the U.S./Mexico border, significantly increasing immigrant detention and deportation, and preempting the judgment of state and local law enforcement on how best to protect their communities.

    The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is committed to an immigration policy that protects human rights, dignity and the homeland at the same time. Over the years, we have seen first-hand the suffering caused by a broken immigration system. We have witnessed the pain, fear and heartache of people who have come to us, who have to live among us in the shadows of society. Many have suffered exploitation in the workplace, lived under the constant threat of deportation and bore the weight of the fear of possible separation from their family members and friends.

    As Archbishop of a Texas diocese, I believe that the order to construct a wall along our border with Mexico will only make migrants more susceptible to traffickers and smugglers – putting their lives in needless danger. It also destabilizes the many vibrant interconnected communities that live in peace along our border.

    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 I, and the faith leaders of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, 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 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.

  7. The head of the Border Patrol Union just said it was a great idea to build a wall and hire more agents. The Border Patrol would be able to secure the Southern Border if these steps were taken .What part of secure do these Bishops not understand? Illegals are felons under US law ! What part of felon do they not understand?

  8. [More from the USCCCP’s version of Pravda]

    Catholics oppose Trump actions on border wall, sanctuary communities

    By Catholic News Service
    1.26.2017

    WASHINGTON (CNS) — Catholic organizations expressed distress and unease with President Donald J. Trump’s actions related to immigration while pledging to continue serving and supporting migrant people.
    The reactions came within hours of Trump’s signing of executive memorandums on national security Jan. 25 during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security. The memorandums authorized the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and directed John F. Kelly, secretary of homeland security, to look at how federal funding streams can be cut for cities and states that illegally harbor those in the country without legal permission.
    Agencies cited the words of Pope Francis in criticizing the president’s actions and pledged to support and serve migrants in the United States.
    “Pope Francis has urged people not to close the door on migrants and refugees,” Dominican Sister Donna Markham, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, said in a statement. “In concert with the Holy Father, we believe we must move from attitudes of defensiveness and fear to acceptance, compassion and encounter.
    “As the U.S. Catholic bishops have said, this is not an either/or situation for us,” Sister Donna added. We can protect our citizens and, at the same time, we can welcome newcomers. Our commitment to care for those who are most vulnerable resides at the core of our faith.”
    Catholic Charities USA also will continue to work for comprehensive immigration reform, Sister Donna said.
    The PICO National Network, the largest network of congregations and faith-based groups in the country, including Catholics, challenged the executive memorandum on sanctuary cities.
    “Retaliating against local communities because they refuse to follow immoral policies is part of an emerging pattern of President Trump of not only bullying people who dare to disagree with him, but isolating and further marginalizing people who are different than him,” said Eddie Carmona, campaign director for PICO National Network’s LA RED campaign. “Such behavior is inconsistent with the long-held notion that America was a place of opportunity for all.”
    Sister Simone Campbell, a Sister of Social Service and executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobbying organization, called the presidential orders “antithetical to our faith.”
    “When Nuns on the Bus visited the U.S.-Mexico border in 2014, we walked along the wall and listened to the stories of communities that have been torn apart for decades. That is the reality experienced by border communities: The wall is there and it affects the daily life and commerce of the people.
    “Federal appropriations for border security have grown to $3.8 billion in FY2015, from $263 million in FY1990, and fencing exists for hundreds of miles along our southern border,” she said in a statement.
    The Washington-based Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach recalled Pope Francis’ words at the close of the Year of Mercy that concluded in November in which he decried a global “epidemic of animosity and violence” toward strangers, immigrants and refugees who often are considered a threat.
    Trump’s signings “presents false and inhumane responses” to the harsh reality of poverty, violence and conflict that cause people to migrate, the center said in a statement.
    “As people of faith, we are called to both address the root causes of migration and seek policies of welcome toward our migrant sisters and brothers. We stand against any policies that seek to build a wall, inhumanely detain women and families, end sanctuary cities, conduct immigration raids, limit migration based on a person’s country of origin and further militarize the border,” the statement added.
    Pax Christi USA sided with “our immigrant brothers and sisters living in fear of deportation and separation from their families.”
    “No one flees their countries of origin on a whim,” a statement from the Catholic peace organization said. “We honor the multiplicity of reasons people migrate to the United States, many of which are poverty, gang violence and terror. People are not the enemy, but that is the myth we are being told by President Trump. Building a wall is the visual symbol of these political lies.”
    The Franciscan Action Network expressed concern that the country would be turning its back on refugees after Trump’s actions.
    “The Gospels call us to welcome the stranger, so as people of faith we advocate and support the rights and dignity of all people,” Patrick Carolan, the Franciscan network’s executive director, said in a statement. “The United States was built by immigrants and we must continue to protect our immigrant and refugee sisters and brothers and keep families together.”
    The U.S. cannot be blinded to the despair of migrants and refugees, including those from Syria and different faith traditions, said Gerry Lee, executive director of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns.
    “Pope Francis proclaimed that ‘refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are children, women, and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes … the flesh of Christ is in the flesh of the refugees.’ The faithful response is not to build a wall or to discriminate against Muslims, but to open our hearts and our homes to refugees of all faiths in recognition of our sacred call to protect and nourish life. If we refuse to welcome refugees in urgent need, we risk becoming like those we claim to deplore,” Lee said.
    Several churches, faith-based advocacy groups and interfaith programs joined the Catholic groups in criticizing the administration’s plans. Among them were Alliance of Baptists, American Jewish World Service, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Interfaith Alliance, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Muslim Public Affairs Council, National Association of Evangelicals, National Council of Churches, National Council of Jewish Women, Presbyterian Church (USA), Unitarian Universalist Association, United Church of Christ and United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society.

  9. Nuns on the Bus are a joke. Catholic Charities is a major human trafficker of illegals and refugees. The terrorist shot at Ohio State stabbing students was one of their refugees brought in and dropped off. The rest of the above mentioned groups are a bunch of Marxists and liberal cry babies. They are just afraid their “Grant Monies” from HHS is about to be cut off, as it should. No taxpayer money should fund any of these groups and no one should care what they say. Let them fund themselves .

  10. [MexChurch chimes in. I “love” the last part about “brothers and sisters from Central and South America who are in transit through our country.” The Mexican church and government help (the latter more like “hasten”) them along to the US. Why won’t they let them settle in Mexico?]

    Mexican bishops decry Trump border-wall plan

    Catholic World News – January 27, 2017

    The Mexican Episcopal Conference has issued a statement decrying President Donald Trump’s executive order on border security.

    “The first thing that hurts us is that many people who live their relationship of family, faith, work, or friendship will be further blocked by this inhuman interference,” the conference said in its statement, as it called for reflection on how to promote security and employment without constructing a border wall.

    “We will continue to support our brothers and sisters who come from Central and South America and who are in transit through our country to the United States,” the statement continued.

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