Syrian refugees wait on the Syrian side of the border near Sanliurfa, Turkey. (CNS photo/Sedat/Suna, EPA)
Jesuits to Congress: "We Can Welcome Refugees While Ensuring Our Own Security"
November 19, 2015 — The Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States is urging members of Congress to oppose efforts to suspend the U.S. refugee resettlement program or restrict funding for Syrians and other groups of refugees.
The Conference joined over 80 other humanitarian agencies, including Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, in signing a letter to Congressional representatives that noted that the U.S. is “a welcoming country with a diverse society and that the resettlement program must continue to reflect this.”
Jesuit Father Timothy Kesicki, president of the Jesuits of Canada and the United States, speaks on-site at the White House in Washington, D.C., in favor of welcoming more refugees from the Middle East to the U.S.
The letter came after a number of U.S. governors announced that they want to stop their states from resettling Syrian refugees and some members of Congress introduced legislation that would stop refugee resettlement altogether.
"Statements conflating refugees and terrorists lead us down a really unfortunate path. Syrian refugees are trying to escape from the very terror that we saw so vividly illustrated in the coordinated attacks in Beirut, Paris and Baghdad," said Shaina Aber, Policy Director for the Jesuit Conference.
The letter noted that refugees are “the most thoroughly vetted group of people who come to the United States,” and the screening process typically takes two years before the refugee would arrive in the U.S.
The letter says that “to turn our back on refugees would be to betray our nation's core values. We can welcome refugees while ensuring our own security. Refugees have enriched communities across our country and have been part of the American fabric for generations.”
Father Tom Smolich, SJ, international director of Jesuit Refugee Service, said, “The idea of only taking Christian refugees is contrary to what we stand for as an immigrant nation. It says we’re afraid. Fear is never a place to make decisions. It’s contrary to where God is calling us. And frankly — it’s bad policy.”
October 9, 2018 - Father Robert Joseph Schlim, SJ, longtime teacher in Spokane schools, died at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos, California, October 3, 2017. He was 90 years of age, 68 years a Jesuit, and 56 years a priest.
September 30, 2018 - Jesuit Scholastics studying Philosophy spend their first summer on service immersion programs. The rural villages of Alakanuk, Bethel and Newtok in western Alaska were the frontier destinations for Shane Liesegang, SJ, John Meyers, SJ, Jason McCreery, SJ, Raymond Parcon, SJ, and James Millikan, SJ. Their mission was to contribute their talents wherever needed.
September 17, 2018 - Ms. Kim Cavnar, Principal of St. Francis Xavier School, received Loyola University of Chicago’s 2018 Damen Award from the Institute of Pastoral Studies on Wednesday, September 12, 2018.
September 12, 2018 - Father Michael J. Mandala, SJ, emeritus president of Verbum Dei High School, Los Angeles, died September 9, 2018 at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos, California. He suffered from pancreatic cancer. He was 71 years of age and had been a member of the Jesuit Order for 54 years, 41 years a priest.
September 5, 2018 - Father John J. (“Hex”) Kindall, SJ, longtime high school teacher/principal and pastor in schools and parishes throughout the Pacific Northwest, died August 25, 2018 at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos, California. He was 91 years of age, a Jesuit for 74 years, and 61 years a priest.
September 2, 2018 - The Jesuits West Prayer for September centers on St. Peter Claver, SJ, whose feast day is September 9. From 1610 until his death in 1654, Peter Claver, ministered to the slaves brought from Africa to Cartagena, Colombia. Peter signed his name, “slave of the slaves forever.”
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