Controversy, upset, and protests continue around the actions of President Trump’s recent directive banning permanent residents, travelers, and refugees from certain countries. Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of the Diocese of Austin issued the following statement regarding the President’s Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”:
I strongly disagree with the executive order on refugee resettlement. Today, with more than 65 million people forcibly displaced from their homes, there is an urgent need for U.S. leadership to assist refugees and provide freedom from persecution. The U.S. has long provided leadership in resettling refugees.
It is important for us to assist all who are vulnerable and fleeing persecution, regardless of their religious belief. They, too, are children of God and are entitled to be treated with human dignity. By helping to resettle the most vulnerable, we are living out our Christian faith as Jesus challenged us to do because by serving the least among us, we serve Jesus himself.
People of goodwill, especially those in government leadership, should ensure that refugees are humanely welcomed without sacrificing our security or values as Americans. As I travel the Diocese of Austin, I have met many parishioners who tell me they are refugees or children of refugees who left their country fleeing violence and persecution. They now consider Central Texas their home – a place of solace and security.
I invite all people of Central Texas to join me in praying and working for the common good and the sacred human dignity of every person.
Bishop Vásquez serves as the current chair of the Committee on Migration for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Austin includes 126 parishes, or faith communities, in 25 counties in Central Texas.