Alexandria, Va. (March 6, 2017) – Today, Sister Donna Markham OP, PhD, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), expressed her profound concern over the new Presidential Executive Order, entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.”
“At the heart of the work of Catholic Charities is the Gospel mandate to welcome the stranger and care for the most vulnerable among us,” said Sister Donna. “Today’s executive order not only hinders that work, but also effectively abandons, for four months, the thousands of endangered refugees fleeing violence, starvation and persecution. It is deeply disturbing to know that the thousands of women, children and other persecuted individuals around the world will face a closed door rather than a helping hand from the United States,” Sister Donna continued.
For more than a century, Catholic Charities agencies and other faith-based organizations have been part of a public-private partnership in the national effort to fulfill the promise of the United States as â€˜the land of the free’ and a safe place for those who are persecuted and oppressed. From the time people in Europe were fleeing poverty, oppression and war to today’s refugees fleeing religious, ethnic and political persecution, Catholic Charities agencies have worked to welcome newcomers and provide them a home.
In order to demonstrate its continued commitment to â€˜welcome the stranger’ and stand in solidarity with Pope Francis and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in support of refugee and migrant families, CCUSA is leading an ambitious $8 million campaign to support the work of local Catholic Charities agencies in caring for refugees.
“While today’s order hinders new and ongoing refugee settlement programs, we recognize that local agencies will continue to struggle to meet the needs of refugees already in our country and sustain our capacity to safely and effectively settle refugees in the future,” Sister Donna added. “The partnership between the government and private and faith-based organizations has allowed the United States to be a global leader in the successful resettlement of refugees. It is our strong hope that this partnership can be renewed so that our nation can demonstrate its continued commitment to those in need around the world.”