Catholic bishops ask Trump for humane immigration policies


By Rachel Zoll - Associated Press

Archbishop Joseph William Tobin, of Indianapolis, speaks with fellow bishops at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ annual fall meeting in Baltimore on Nov. 14, 2016. Tobin is one of three Americans who Pope Francis named on his list of 17 new cardinal-elects, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016.


Patrick Semansky | AP Photo

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, of Louisville, Ky., president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, greets new bishops during the USCCB’s annual fall meeting in Baltimore on Nov. 14, 2016. The bishops opened their meeting by urging President-elect Donald Trump to adopt humane policies toward immigrants and refugees.


Patrick Semansky | AP Photo

Members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops attend the USCCB’s annual fall meeting in Baltimore, Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. The bishops opened their meeting by urging President-elect Donald Trump to adopt humane policies toward immigrants and refugees.


Patrick Semansky | AP Photo

BALTIMORE — The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops, meeting just days after Donald Trump was elected president, urged him Monday to adopt humane policies toward immigrants and refugees.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said serving people fleeing violence and conflict “is part of our identity as Catholics” and pledged to continue this work. Pope Francis has made helping immigrants one of the core issues of his pontificate.

“We stand ready to work with a new administration to continue to ensure that refugees are humanely welcomed without sacrificing our security or our core values as Americans. A duty to welcome and protect newcomers, particularly refugees, is an integral part of our mission to help our neighbors in need,” the bishops said at the assembly in Baltimore.

Trump had said during the campaign that he would build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and immediately deport all 11 million people in the country illegally, although he later distanced himself from that position. In an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” he said he would focus on deporting people with criminal records beyond their immigrant status, “probably two million, it could even be three million.” The Obama administration has deported more than 2.5 million people since taking office in 2009, according to the Homeland Security Department.

Trump also told “60 Minutes” that his promised solid border wall might look more like a fence in spots. House Speaker Paul Ryan rejected any “deportation force” targeting people in the country illegally.

A representative of the bishops had released the statement on Trump and immigration soon after Election Day. The statement was read aloud and affirmed by the bishops’ conference as they opened their gathering.

American Catholics have built a vast network of aid and advocacy programs for immigrants and refugees. U.S. bishops are especially attentive to the issue given that Latinos comprise about 4 in 10 U.S. Catholics and are already a majority in several dioceses.

Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis, Indiana, had opposed a request from Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, that the Catholic church stop settling Syrian refugees in the state. Tobin brought an Iraqi refugee to a meeting with the governor, who is now the vice-president elect. Tobin is one of three U.S. church leaders whom the pope will make cardinals in a ceremony Sunday in Rome.

The bishops have pledged to work with a Trump administration and the leaders of Congress. Trump’s exact policies remain a mystery, but he may find common ground with Catholic leaders if he fulfills his pledges to appoint anti-abortion justices to the U.S. Supreme Court and protect the conscience rights of religious conservatives who do not wish to recognize same-sex marriage.

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, outgoing president of the bishops’ conference, highlighted care for immigrants and religious liberty as key issues in his final address.

Archbishop Joseph William Tobin, of Indianapolis, speaks with fellow bishops at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ annual fall meeting in Baltimore on Nov. 14, 2016. Tobin is one of three Americans who Pope Francis named on his list of 17 new cardinal-elects, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016.
http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_113530472-d2a85dbd21d641a2bae4ca4f4a93d88e-1.jpgArchbishop Joseph William Tobin, of Indianapolis, speaks with fellow bishops at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ annual fall meeting in Baltimore on Nov. 14, 2016. Tobin is one of three Americans who Pope Francis named on his list of 17 new cardinal-elects, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. Patrick Semansky | AP Photo
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, of Louisville, Ky., president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, greets new bishops during the USCCB’s annual fall meeting in Baltimore on Nov. 14, 2016. The bishops opened their meeting by urging President-elect Donald Trump to adopt humane policies toward immigrants and refugees.
http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_113530472-29a3550703984e8d8f8786669a1b5b3d-1.jpgArchbishop Joseph Kurtz, of Louisville, Ky., president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, greets new bishops during the USCCB’s annual fall meeting in Baltimore on Nov. 14, 2016. The bishops opened their meeting by urging President-elect Donald Trump to adopt humane policies toward immigrants and refugees. Patrick Semansky | AP Photo
Members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops attend the USCCB’s annual fall meeting in Baltimore, Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. The bishops opened their meeting by urging President-elect Donald Trump to adopt humane policies toward immigrants and refugees.
http://timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_113530472-21b9d18773744260a90ec58a605afdae-1.jpgMembers of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops attend the USCCB’s annual fall meeting in Baltimore, Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. The bishops opened their meeting by urging President-elect Donald Trump to adopt humane policies toward immigrants and refugees. Patrick Semansky | AP Photo

By Rachel Zoll

Associated Press

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