Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis Offers Message on Immigration Orders

By Maria Wiering - The Catholic Spirit

“I know that many in our archdiocese are experiencing fear and anxiety after President Trump’s recent executive orders implementing his plans to expand and fortify the existing wall between the United States and Mexico, to increase immigration deportation and detention, and to punish cities and counties that choose not to cooperate with federal deportation efforts,” Archbishop Hebda said in a statement.

“This is clearly a moment for continuing our prayers not only for the immigrants and refugees who call our Archdiocese home, but also for our parishes who are discerning ways of responding to this situation and for our government leaders at all levels who are called to work for the common good,” he said.

Trump issued two executive orders Jan. 25. The first withholds federal funding from “sanctuary jurisdictions” that “attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States,” the order states. It also orders that other efforts are made to ensure the deportation of immigrants without documentation, starting with those who have been convicted of “any criminal offense.” The second order is for the building of a physical wall on the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent illegal immigration. News reports say that Trump is also expected to sign a temporary ban on refugees from some predominantly Muslim countries.

“The Catholic bishops of the United States have recognized that this is a moment for comprehensive immigration reform and have repeatedly called for collaboration between the White House and our lawmakers in the House and Senate to work together to this end,” Archbishop Hebda said. “While recognizing the right of countries to protect their borders and to regulate immigration in a way that is fair and promotes public safety, the Church has repeatedly underlined the importance of treating our undocumented brothers and sisters with the dignity that is theirs as children of God.”

He pointed to the words of Pope Francis, who “has repeatedly called for all people of the world to welcome the migrant and refugee, who are often fleeing violence and impossible living conditions.”

Archbishop Hebda also pointed to Pope Francis’ message for the 2017 World Day of Migrants and Immigrants Jan. 15, in which the pope “articulated that migrants need to ‘cooperate ever more closely with the communities that welcome them, for the good of their own children.’”

“We join the Holy Father in reaffirming our Catholic teaching on the dignity of each human life and commit ourselves not only to prayer but alsoto supporting efforts for those of various viewpoints to  come together to work for the common good, to make sure that our laws are just, fair and enforceable as well as compassionate, and to do all that we can to make sure families are kept intact, recognizing that families are the principal building blocks of a civilized society,” Archbishop Hebda said.

Archbishop Hebda's full statement.