CNA Staff, Apr 24, 2020 / 05:13 pm (CNA).- As the Trump administration suspends immigration to stem the spread of coronavirus, the United States’ bishops encouraged global solidarity, saying the order promotes hostility instead.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order April 22 which would block a large portion of immigrants from accessing green cards.
“In this moment, our common humanity is apparent more now than ever. The virus is merciless in its preying upon human life; it knows no borders or nationality,” read an April 23 statement issued by Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, president of US bishops’ conference; Auxiliary Bishop Mario Dorsonville of Washington, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration; and Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, chair of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network.
“The President’s action threatens instead to fuel polarization and animosity. While we welcome efforts to ensure that all Americans are recognized for the dignity of their work, the global crisis caused by COVID-19 demands unity and the creativity of love, not more division and the indifference of a throw-away mentality.”
The Migration Policy Institute reported that the order could block an estimated 52,000 green cards over the next 60-day period. The executive order may also be renewed after this period is over.
According to the order, the temporary halt to immigration will apply to those who “do not have an immigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation” or “do not have an official travel document other than a visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.”
The order will not pertain to healthcare professionals, any member of the US military, minor children and spouses of US citizens, and those entering for national security reasons.
According to the New York Times, as of April 24, the coronavirus has infected over 2.7 million people and killed 186,832 people worldwide.
Numerous countries throughout the world have tightened restrictions on borders and traveling. In the past month, there have been several changes to the United States immigration system, including delays to immigration hearings and suspended refugee admissions, CNN reported.
The bishops expressed concerns that this order will not only negatively affect immigrants but religious workers as well. This order will be detrimental to the Church and other denominations, they further added.
“The proclamation prevents certain immigrant family members from reuniting with their loved ones living in the United States. Additionally, it bars religious workers seeking to come to the United States as lawful permanent residents from supporting the work of our Church, as well as many other religions, at this time,” they said.
“This will undoubtedly hurt the Catholic Church and other denominations in the United States, diminishing their overall ability to minister to those in need,” the bishops wrote.
The bishops emphasized the dignity of all people and said that immigrants are a positive influence on society.
“There is little evidence that immigrants take away jobs from citizens. Immigrants and citizens together are partners in reviving the nation’s economy. We must always remember that we are all sons and daughters of God joined together as one human family.”
“Pope Francis teaches us that to live through these times we need to employ and embody the ‘creativity of love,’” they said.
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