American Values and Security Depend on Welcoming Immigrants

Communications Associate

January 29, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Refugees, immigrants and visitors faced chaos this weekend following President Trump’s executive order that restricts their entry.

They have been returned to their countries of origin, not been permitted to board flights to the United States and detained at airports across the country, denying their access to the U.S. and separating families.

A federal judge ruled to stay the executive order Saturday, ordering that those who are trapped not be required to leave the U.S., but did not discuss the constitutionality of the order or whether these immigrants should be let into the country.

In response, the White House has said it will allow lawful permanent residents to board planes to the U.S. and be considered for entry on a case-by-case basis, but the order’s language on enforcement remains unclear and overly broad. At the same time, the Department of Homeland Security is doubling down on enforcement while not providing additional guidance on how the executive order will be implemented. Security officials, law enforcement, business leaders and the immigrant community have been thrown into a state of confusion.

Response has been as broad as it has been deep. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement Saturday evening expressing concern. One of the nation’s leading social conservatives, Robert P. George, tweeted, “The way to fight terrorists is not by closing our doors — or hearts — to their victims.”

And Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration, said in a statement, “We strongly disagree with the executive order’s halting refugee admissions. We believe that now more than ever, welcoming newcomers and refugees is an act of love and hope.”

The National Immigration Forum has summarized Friday’s executive order that restricts refugee resettlement and visa processing here.

The following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum:

“President Trump’s executive orders have created chaos and confusion throughout the government and the nation. In an effort to improve our safety and security, the administration has not only undermined American values but has weakened our security.

“A secure nation must have functioning immigration and refugee programs. President Trump, let the experts do their jobs.

“Not upholding America’s longstanding tradition of welcoming refugees is dangerous. Our nation cannot turn our backs on the victims of terrorism and other forms of violence and persecution. The executive order separates families, puts our troops at risk and strays dramatically from our country’s values.

“But the response from Americans in support of refugees and immigrants has been deep and broad. And we applaud and thank immigration lawyers across the country for contending for the rights of these refugees and other immigrants.

“We need solutions that lead not with fear, but with compassion and a clear focus on what actually would uphold our security. It is urgent that leaders from across the political spectrum stand up for refugees and immigrants.”