The following is a statement from Msgr. Michael Shugrue, diocesan administrator for the Diocese of Raleigh:
The national discussion regarding immigration and the refugee program has brought to the surface a variety of legitimate concerns that require calm discernment. The priority of the Church is to assist the human person spiritually, but also to advocate for their physical and emotional well-being. This applies to all people.
Any immigration or refugee system must balance three guiding principles. First, people have the right to migrate to sustain their lives and the lives of their families. Second, a country has the right to regulate its borders and to control immigration. Lastly, a country must regulate its borders with justice and mercy.
Above all else, we must remain rooted in prayer. We must pray for those fleeing poverty, violence and oppression, that they be protected. We must pray for politicians and government officials who are tasked with upholding the American tradition of providing safety to those in need as well as to protect its citizens. We must pray that the countries from which refugees are fleeing would put an end to the violence, and that they would enjoy the peace and joy found in Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Sister Donna Markham OP, PhD, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA:
I am especially worried about the innocent children and mothers who have fled for their lives without support and are now caught in this regrettable and terribly frightening situation. While I certainly appreciate the importance of vetting to insure the safety of our country, I also believe we must treat those who are most vulnerable with compassion and mercy and with hearts willing to be opened wide in the face of dire human need.
Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the Committee on Migration for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, stated, in part:
The United States has long provided leadership in resettling refugees. We believe in assisting all those who are vulnerable and fleeing persecution, regardless of their religion. This includes Christians, as well as Yazidis and Shia Muslims from Syria, Rohingyas from Burma, and other religious minorities. However, we need to protect all our brothers and sisters of all faiths, including Muslims, who have lost family, home, and country. They are children of God and are entitled to be treated with human dignity. We believe that by helping to resettle the most vulnerable, we are living out our Christian faith as Jesus has challenged us to do.
Today, more than 65 million people around the world are forcibly displaced from their homes. Given this extraordinary level of suffering, the U.S. Catholic Bishops will redouble their support for, and efforts to protect, all who flee persecution and violence, as just one part of the perennial and global work of the Church in this area of concern.