U.S. Bishops’ Immigration Chief Says Jesus Was Part of a ‘Refugee Family’

Guatemala City, GUATEMALA: A figure of Jesus which asks for "justice with the migrants and no more deportations" is pictured in the Constitution Place where members of the Episcopal Conference take part in the Via Crucis of the Migrant in the Historic Centre of Guatemala City, 23 March 2007. The …
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The chairman of the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration said Jesus Christ was the member of a refugee family, while applauding a judge’s block of President Trump’s executive order on refugee resettlement.

“Jesus Christ, who was part of a refugee family, calls us to welcome the stranger, and our pro-life commitment requires us to protect refugees,” said Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington, in a statement posted on the bishops’ (USCCB) website Friday.

The bishop did not specify why he believes that Jesus was the member of a refugee family. Jesus was born in his father’s ancestral hometown of Bethlehem, the city of David. His parents took Jesus and fled Judea when King Herod set out to kill all the baby boys under two years of age, but they settled in Egypt, which was still part of the Roman Empire at the time, and persecution arose from a local ruler, not the emperor. Upon the death of Herod, the family returned to their home in Galilee, where Jesus spent most of his growing-up years.

“Today’s ruling is a welcome step in our ongoing ministry to provide refugees, who are fleeing religious persecution, war, and other dangers, with safe haven here in the United States,” Bishop Dorsonville said.

In his statement, Dorsonville said the bishops had previously “expressed deep concerns about this Executive Order permitting state and county officials to turn away refugees from their communities.”

“We feared the negative consequences for refugees and their families as this Executive Order would have created a confusing patchwork across America of some jurisdictions where refugees are welcomed, and others where they are not,” he added. “Today’s injunction helps to maintain a uniform national policy of welcome to refugees and serves to maintain reunification of refugee families as a primary factor for initial resettlement.”

Friday’s preliminary injunction ordered that the resettlement program’s operational rules be returned to how they were before the Executive Order was issued on September 26, 2019, and thus federal officials will have the final responsibility of deciding where refugees will be resettled.

“Once more, we see the intention to act united as a nation in the effort to provide solidarity to those who need it most and are encouraged by the compassion that this nation has towards refugees,” Bishop Dorsonville said. “The Church looks forward to continue working with communities across America to welcome refugees as we uphold the dignity of all human life.”

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