FAN Works to Celebrate Refugees

On January 8, 2020, in a Greenbelt, MD district court house, a hearing was held on the lawsuit filed by three refugee settlement organizations against Executive Order 13.888 issued in September, 2019.

FAN’s Associate Director, Sr. Marie Lucey, OSF spoke at a rally in front of the court with partner faith and human rights groups who gathered to celebrate, welcome, and uplift refugee contributions to our country. Here is her speech.

Franciscan Action Network, a longtime advocate for refugees, sees the timing of this court hearing as particularly significant. In the Christian calendar it is still the Christmas Season, when we remember that the Holy Family sought refuge in Egypt to escape threats of a jealous king. It comes during National Migration Week 2020, celebrated annually in the Catholic church in the United States for almost 50 years. This year’s theme, “Promoting a Church and World for All,” emphasizes the need for Catholics to be inclusive and welcoming to all our sisters and brothers. Welcoming refugees counters what Pope Francis has referred to as “a globalization of indifference,” which has led many to turn their backs on those living in poverty and/or violence and seeking to find a better life of safety and hope for their families. We are reminded that refugees are people, with names, faces, and heart-wrenching stories of why their lives became so unbearable that they fled their countries to seek welcome and safety elsewhere.

Until recent years, the United States has offered this hope to refugees, and has benefited economically and culturally from the many contributions of refugees from around the world. Under this administration, the welcome sign has been removed. The Trump administration has shown not only indifference, but outright hostility to refugees by dramatically decreasing the number of admissions each year, and in September, 2019, issuing an executive order that would give localities and states the ability to deny entry of refugees into their areas, even if they have been approved for resettlement. Welcoming refugees is not a partisan issue. To date, governors of 41 states, both Democrats and Republicans, including the Republican governor of this state of Maryland, have declared that refugees are welcome in their states and municipalities.

The scripture readings this week in my Catholic tradition repeat the theme of love in the First Letter of John: because God is love we must love our brothers and sisters—not an invitation but a requirement of faith. According to Matthew’s account of the judgement of the nations, we will be judged not on how many times we went to church or how much money we gave in the collection basket, but whether we fed the hungry, welcomed the stranger, cared for those who are ill, visited prisoners. Franciscans applaud the lawsuit filed by partners in faith in opposition to executive order 13.888 which is clearly immoral, threatens unification of families, and is seen by many as unlawful. We stand with our faith partners as they present their case, and we demand that our country’s Welcome sign be restored for refugee sisters and brothers.

Published in: on January 9, 2020 at 9:45 am  Leave a Comment  

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