Statement of Justice Promoters of the Dominican Family of the United States denouncing executive actions of President Donald Trump

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Justice Promoters of the Dominican Family of the United States
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We, the Justice Promoters of the Dominican Family of the United Sates are outraged by President Trump’s recent executive orders. This nation has a long history of welcoming immigrants and sheltering refugees. Women and men religious have been blessed to be able to accompany and serve immigrant and refugee communities across this country for a very long time. Catholic religious communities remain committed to welcoming refugees who come to this country after passing through the U.S. government’s already rigorous screening processes. Halting or undermining the U.S. refugee resettlement program leaves vulnerable refugees, including women and children fleeing violence, in extreme danger and diminishes us all.

President Trump’s order, which bans residents of seven Muslim majority countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days, suspends refugee resettlement entirely for four months, and bars resettlement of Syrian refugees indefinitely. This is unconscionable in the face of the unprecedented global refugee crisis. More than 61 million people have been displaced from their homes, more than at any time since World War II. Some 21 million are refugees; most are children who have been forced from their homes by unthinkable violence..

We are told this is not the “Muslim ban” that had been proposed during the presidential campaign, but these actions focus on Muslim-majority countries. They make an exception for Christians and non-Muslim minorities, but not for Muslims refugees fleeing for their lives. Ironically, this ban does not include the home country of 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers. Yet, people from Iraq, even those who assisted our military in a destructive war, are excluded.

Our Christian story is a journey rooted in the welcome of Abraham and Sarah and yet anchored in the plight of Mary and Joseph, called out of their homeland to protect the child Jesus. Yet as Dominicans we have own unique voice. We have just completed our 800th anniversary of the founding of a unique tradition in the world.  Our very origins were founded by Dominic to search for dialogue among Christians and Muslims.  It is hard not to hear the voice of Antonio de Montesinos who called out the inhumanity of slavery in the Americas, insisting in the goodness of all human life.   Our own Dominican sisters and brothers in Iraq have cried for that respect and dignity during these past years of war. Now is not the time to turn away from their plight, their oppression and desperation.  The voice of an oppressed Muslim family in desperation to file for refugee status is a call for survival for us all, Christians, Muslims and other faith communities alike. The world is thirsting for these very voices today. These executive actions give aid and comfort to those who would destroy our way of life. They harken back to the darker moments of our own history of slavery, Japanese internment camps among them, all for the cause of opportunity for some, while oppressing and destroying others in the name of liberty. They lower our estimation in the eyes of the many peoples who want to know America as a defender of human rights and religious liberty, not a nation that targets religious populations and then shuts its doors on them.

In 2015, Pope Francis addressed Congress reminding them, “It is time to put aside fear and join together to recover who we are and what we represent to a world badly in need of hope and solidarity. “If we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities.”  and followed with a warning that should haunt us as we come to terms with the events of the weekend: “The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.”

 

(22 February 2017)