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Statement of Racine Dominicans on Concerns about Executive Orders

February 1, 2017, Racine, Wisconsin – In response to executive action signed by President Trump on immigration and refugee resettlement and action to advance construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil Pipelines, the Racine Dominican Executive Committee has issued the following statement:

Racine Dominicans deplore actions taken most recently by President Trump on immigration and refugee resettlement which threaten border communities, force our immigrant community members further into the shadows and endanger those fleeing violence. These orders do nothing to make anyone more secure and may well have the opposite effect.

We are appalled by President Trump’s order which also 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. Racine Dominicans will continue to stand in solidarity with families, regardless of immigration status, who labor daily to provide safety and security for their children.

Furthermore, we also deplore the steps taken by President Trump to advance construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines. These actions send a dangerous signal about our nation’s commitment to the COP21 Climate Agreement and pose a threat to drinking water and sacred sites of our Native brothers and sisters. We call on President Trump to reverse these actions and take steps to lead our country toward a new carbon-free economy and a more humane society of the 21st century.

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Racine Dominicans, a Congregation of 120 vowed women religious and over 50 associates, traces its roots back to St. Dominic in the 13th century. 

 


 

These times present serious and complex issues about which we must be informed. Immigration is a justice issue.

Catholic Social Teaching has long taught us that:

  • All people have the right to live in dignity and to achieve a full life.

  • Every person possesses inherent dignity.

  • All goods of the earth belong to all people. An individual has the right to find work elsewhere if there is none in his/her country.

  • Sovereign nations have the right to control their borders. However, nations must recognize they have a stronger obligation to accommodate migration flows.

Statement Calling for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (June 2011)

  • We Racine Dominican Sisters join with other faith-based leaders and organizations in their call to our elected officials to enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation that affirms the right of every person to earn a livelihood and live as a family through a safe and humane immigration system consistent with our Christian values. 

  • We acknowledge and support the U.S. and Mexican Catholic Bishops, as they, too, call for comprehensive reform of current immigration policies in their pastoral letter on migrants, “Strangers No Longer: Together on a Journey of Hope.” 

  • As faith-based people, we call attention to the moral dimensions of public policy and the need to pursue policies that uphold human dignity.

  • We believe that immigration reform must include a system that facilitates legal status and family unity in the interest of serving the God-given dignity and rights of every individual. Our diverse faith traditions teach us to welcome our brothers and sisters with love and compassion.

We affirm the need for elected officials to enact legislation that includes:

  • An opportunity for hard-working immigrants who are already contributing to this country to regularize their status upon satisfaction of reasonable criteria, and, over time, pursue an option to become lawful permanent residents and U.S. citizens, if so desired;

  • Reforms in our family-based immigration system to significantly reduce waiting times for separated families who currently wait many years to be reunited;

  • The creation of legal avenues for workers and their families who wish to migrate to the U.S. to enter our country and work in a safe, legal, and orderly manner with their rights fully protected; and

  • Border protection policies that are consistent with humanitarian values and with the need to treat all individuals with respect, while allowing the authorities to carry out the critical task of identifying and preventing entry of terrorists and dangerous criminals, as well as pursuing the legitimate task of implementing American immigration policy.

We acknowledge the right of our government to enforce the law and protect our national security, but we also recognize that our existing complex and unworkable immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed!  Most immigrants in the United States are here to support their families; they hope to reunite with their loved ones, but current immigration policies prevent that from happening.  We urge our elected officials to conduct the immigration reform debate in a civil and respectful manner, taking care not to blame the immigrants for our social and economic problems.  It is our hope that the legislative process will produce a just immigration system of which our nation of immigrants can be proud.

 


 

“...Our immigration system is badly broken and requires reform. In order to fix the system, we must bring undocumented persons out of the shadows and put them on a path to citizenship. This would help stabilize immigrant families and our workforce in many important industries. We also must create legal avenues for migrant workers to migrate legally and safely into our country to perform important jobs in crucial industries in our economy. Finally, we must ensure that families are reunited in a timely manner.”

~ Bishop John Wester, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, to Representative Gutierrez
January 2010

 


The United States Bishops have stated clearly and strongly that comprehensive immigration reform must include:

  • A plan for immigrants already in the U.S. to regularlize their status upon satisfaction of reasonable criteria and pursue an option to become permanent residents, and perhaps, U.S. citizens.

  • Reforms in our family-based system to significantly reduce the waiting time for separated families to be reunited.

  • The creation of legal avenues for workers and their families who wish to migrate to the U.S. to enter our country and work in a safe, legal, and orderly manner with their rights fully protected.

  • Border protection policies that are consistent with humanitarian values and with the need to treat all individuals with respect -- while still allowing the authorities to carry out the critical task of identifying and preventing entry of terrorists and criminals.

 


Helpful resources on immigration:

* Prayer for immigrants
* Facebook for Wisconsin Catholic Sisters
* US Conference of Catholic Bishops' Justice for Immigrants 
* S. Joyce Quintana's reflection

I was a refugee and you welcomed me. Jesus.

One of the many critical and complicated justices issues facing our nation and Church right now is that of immigration reform. We invite you to learn more about this issue: