BY ISN STAFF | June 28, 2018
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) chairs of the Committee on Migration and Committee for Religious Liberty, as well as Jesuit Refugee Service/USA have issued statements responding to the June 26 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Trump v. Hawaii, which will allow the Trump Administration to continue the use of the so-called “travel ban” first enacted by Executive Order in January 2017.
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court has ruled the ban constitutional, thereby upholding the suspension of entry into the United States by nationals of six Muslim-majority countries — Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen — and a smaller number of North Koreans and Venezuelans. Although the restrictions on Chad have since been lifted, the ban remains in effect for nationals of the other seven countries on most, or all, types of visas, even if they have spouses, children, parents, or other family members in the United States. This decision will impact thousands of displaced people and other vulnerable individuals and families who are seeking protection in the U.S.
Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, and Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chair of the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty, issued the following joint statement:
“The travel ban targets Muslims for exclusion, which goes against our country’s core principle of neutrality when it comes to people of faith. We are disappointed in the Court’s ruling because it failed to take into account the clear and unlawful targeting of a specific religious group by the government. The Catholic Church takes a strong stand against religious discrimination, and we will continue to advocate for the rights of people of all faiths, as well as serve migrants and refugees through our various ministries.”JRS/USA continues to oppose the ban and religious test for entry into the United States. “The travel ban is inherently discriminatory as it restricts travel to the U.S. on the basis of place of origin and religion rather than on the criteria firmly established by U.S. and international law,” reads the statement. “It violates Catholic social teaching by denying protection, compassion, and solidarity towards those who seek refuge. Furthermore, it restricts entry to those who need it most – the men, women, and children who have been victimized by terrorism, insecurity, and displacement.”
“This decision betrays the core American values of welcoming persecuted families and individuals who come to the U.S. to rebuild their lives, regardless of religion,” said Christopher Kerr, Ignatian Solidarity Network executive director. “This decision is an affront to all immigrants and refugees seeking dignity and safety.”