Bishop Joe Vásquez

On February 9, 2017, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a unanimous decision upholding a lower court’s temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking the implementation of several key provisions of Executive Order 13769. The TRO was put in place by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington on February 3, 2017. The provisions that that have temporarily been blocked by the TRO include: a 120 day halt of the U.S. refugee resettlement program; an indefinite prohibition of resettling and admitting Syrian refugees; a preference for resettling Christian minorities; a case by case evaluation of refugee admission during the 120 day pause on resettlement; and a 90 day prohibition on entry, travel, and visas for individuals from the seven identified predominantly-Muslim countries of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Bishop Joe VásquezIn response to the Appeals Court ruling, Bishop Joe Vasquez, Bishop of the Diocese of Austin, Texas, and Chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Committee on Migration stated: “We welcome the decision of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. We respect the rule of law and the American judicial process. We remain steadfast in our commitment to resettling refugees and all those fleeing persecution. At this time, we remain particularly dedicated to ensuring that affected refugee and immigrant families are not separated and that they continue to be welcomed to our country. We will continue to welcome the newcomer as it is a vital part of our Catholic faith and an enduring element of our American values and tradition.”

Earlier this month the Ignatian Solidarity Network announced the “6-Minute Ignatian Advocacy Challenge,” seeking to inspire advocacy in solidarity with immigrants and refugees impacted by the executive order which has been restrained by the 9th district court and earlier orders issue by the Trump administration.  In announcing the challenge, ISN denounced the orders and called on the Trump Administration and Congress to not only work for their remediation but to “seek long-term policy changes that recognize the inherent dignity and value the contributions of those who are immigrants and refugees.”

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