Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Catholic Charities Atlanta’s response to revised executive order on foreign entry

Published March 10, 2017

 ATLANTA—Vanessa Russell, chief executive officer of Catholic Charities Atlanta, released the following statement March 7 regarding the revised “Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States

“The grave danger is to disown our neighbors. When we do so, we deny their humanity and our own humanity without realizing it; we deny ourselves, and we deny the most important Commandments of Jesus.”
Pope Francis on Feb. 10 in a letter to participants at the opening of the U.S. Regional World Meeting of Popular Movements in Modesto, California.

Catholic Charities Atlanta is encouraged by the changes to the recently revised “Executive Order Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the U.S.” signed by President Trump. However, we are disappointed that the order still halts refugee admissions for 120 days and continues to limit U.S. refugee admissions to 50,000 individuals for this year.

As a Catholic Charities agency, we welcome refugee families that come to the United States to start their lives again in safety and dignity regardless of their faith or nationality. Refugee resettlement is the living embodiment of our religious commitment to “welcome the stranger.”

The U.S. resettlement program has its historical underpinnings in the actions of the Catholic Church and other faith communities. Catholic Charities Atlanta has a long history of providing services to immigrants and refugees. We have welcomed Cuban immigrants, Vietnamese refugees as well as Africans and east Europeans escaping war and Asians escaping religious persecution. These new Americans have become vibrant and successful participants in our communities.

Although we support the work of our government to make our borders safe, we also stand in solidarity with those vulnerable individuals and families who have been denied their most basic rights of human dignity and we continue to help those who so desperately seek to live lives free of violence and persecution.