Did America Discriminate Against Christian Refugees Under Obama?

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Harrison Staab https://www.flickr.com/photos/harrystaab/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Harrison Staab https://www.flickr.com/photos/harrystaab/

I have no first-hand knowledge of this. However, I have read repeatedly in publications which seek to support Christians who are subjected to discrimination, that President Obama’s administration discriminated against Christians who were seeking asylum in this country.

President Trump evidently repeated that charge in front of an Evangelical group. The BBC then shot back by saying that President Trump was wrong when he said that the Obama administration favored Muslim immigrants over Christians who were seeking asylum in this country.

Now, Barnabas Aid has issued repeated demands that the BBC retract this statement, which they say is inaccurate.

I have often cited Barnabas Aid in stories about Christian persecution. I have also read the same charges about discrimination against Christian refugees under President Obama from other sources. I always believed them, and, to be honest, I believe them now.

I think President Trump is suffering from what happens when someone lies over and over. People just stop believing them, and when they say something, even if it’s true, it carries no weight with those who view them as compulsive liars. This is sad and a bit scary, considering that what President Trump says on the world stage affects our nation’s future and overall credibility.

If people all over the globe tend to dismiss whatever he says as a lie, then that means that they also dismiss American positions and policy statements as lies. That weakens our position worldwide. It can destroy our credibility as a nation.

In this instance of “who you gonna believe,” there will probably be knee-jerk reactions based entirely on which side of the Trump question the reader happens to fall. Trump rejecters will believe the BBC. Trump followers will believe President Trump.

That’s what’s happening on many questions of public policy these days. Very little rational thought is going into what people decide to believe, and even less rational thought is going into who they decide to follow. This is a dangerous thing in a democracy. I, for one, am doing all I can to encourage people to pull back from it and think for themselves.

In this instance, I am, personally, more inclined to believe Barnabas Aid than the BBC. I have, as I said, no personal knowledge of how things have worked for refugees coming into this country in the last year or so. But over the years, I’ve talked to quite a number of Christians who have suffered persecution, including losing family members to Christian persecution, around the globe. In each instance, our government had, at best, ignored the situation which allowed such persecution to exist.

I hope that you will start looking at each of these “who you gonna believes?” on a case-by-case basis, and stop knee-jerking. Neither side of this tells the truth all the time. Both sides lie. Our president appears to be a compulsive liar. But sometimes, he says something that is true.

Try to form your followership and support based on more than one source, including sources that disagree with your viewpoint. Our country is worth a lot more than any passing political position or political party. We are the American people. We truly can make a difference.

From Barnabas Aid:

Barnabas Aid has challenged the BBC to correct a wholly false claim made last Sunday on prime time TV news about Christian refugees in the USA. In an interview with a Christian TV network President Trump defended the executive order he issued on 27 January by saying that the policy was about prioritising religious minorities. When specifically asked if persecuted Christians would be a priority he replied:

“Yes, they have been horribly treated. Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, at least very, very tough to get into the United States. If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian it was almost impossible.”

BBC office

BBC office
CC BY-SA 2.0 by Christine Matthews

On Sunday evening at the start of the 10pm television news, the BBC broadcast the following comment on this by their New York correspondent, Nick Bryant:

“In an interview with an evangelical television network [President Trump] claimed without any factual basis the old Obama policy favoured Muslims over Christians” (emphasis added).

A few minutes later the BBC also posted online a video of the actual statement they had claimed was “without any factual basis”. This sweeping assertion broadcast by the BBC was not only wholly untrue, it was also potentially damaging to tens of thousands of Syrian Christian refugees.

Barnabas Aid has for many months been highlighting the massive institutional discrimination faced by Syrian Christian refugees – with only one half of one percent of Syrian refugees resettled in the USA last year being Christians. This is despite them constituting up to 10% of the pre-war population and US Secretary of State John Kerry declaring in March that they were facing genocide.

It is not just Barnabas Aid that has been saying this. For nearly a year major US news networks such as Fox News and CNS have also reported it. The simple fact is that of 10,801 Syrian refugees admitted to the USA last year only 56 were Christians (there were also only 20 Shi’a and 17 Yazidis – the other two groups that John Kerry said were facing genocide), while 99% were Sunni Muslims. A 30 second google search by the BBC would have revealed this.

There have been claims that the previous administration could not have been discriminating against Christians as the total numbers of Christian (44%) and Muslim refugees (46%) admitted to the USA were similar. However, this is a misuse of statistics because these totals primarily reflect which countries have crises causing refugee movements. It is therefore almost impossible, using that kind of raw data, to say anything meaningful about whether Christians/Muslims are being discriminated against. However, where Christians are BOTH being specifically targeted as they are in Syria AND very significantly underrepresented in the number given entry to the USA then it is almost certain that they are facing significant discrimination.  It can be taken for granted that Syrian Christians are not averse to resettling in the USA, which is a number one goal for so many refugees and already has a large Arab Christian population which would make the newcomers feel at home.

Whatever one thinks of President Trump, it was wholly wrong for the BBC to make the sweeping claim that suggesting the previous administration’s policy disadvantaged Christians was “without any factual basis”.

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Bishops “Troubled.” Evangelicals Ecstatic. Trump’s Religious Roundup for the Week.

Photo Source: Flickr creative commons by Gage Skidmore, https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/

Photo Source: Flickr creative commons by Gage Skidmore, https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/

It appears that Evangelicals are the darling of the new administration, but the Catholics, not quite so much. Or maybe the Catholics will do better as events unfold. We’ll have to watch and see.

As of now, the USCCB is “concerned” because President Trump has decided to retain an Obama executive order which, “prohibits federal government contractors from sexual orientation and gender-identity discrimination and forbids gender-identity discrimination in the employment of federal employees.”

The USCCB wants religious exemptions to the order.

This action on the part of President Trump does seem to run contrary to his “I’ve got your back” promise to the bishops concerning matters of religious freedom. But it is probably smart politics, as it could split homosexuals out of the opposition to the Trump Administration.

From the National Catholic Register: 

WASHINGTON — The U.S. bishops are concerned by the Trump administration’s decision to maintain a “troubling” Obama-era executive order that could demand federal contractors violate their religious beliefs on marriage and gender ideology.

“In seeking to remedy instances of discrimination, it creates new forms of discrimination against people of faith. Keeping the executive order intact is not the answer,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said Feb. 1.

“The Church steadfastly opposes all unjust discrimination, and we need to continue to advance justice and fairness in the workplace,” the bishops added. “Executive Order 13672, however, creates problems rather than solves them.”

The executive order is “deeply flawed” with “many problems,” they said, voicing hope the administration would be open to ways to advance conscience rights.

Signed by President Barack Obama, the order prohibits federal government contractors from sexual orientation and gender-identity discrimination and forbids gender-identity discrimination in the employment of federal employees.

The executive order immediately drew criticism for its lack of religious exemptions. Religious groups voiced concern that they could be disqualified from federal contracts if their faith forbids them to affirm same-sex unions as marriages or to pay for employees’ transgender “transition” surgeries.

On Jan. 31, the Trump White House affirmed its support for Obama’s order.

“The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump,” it said.

It added that President Trump is “proud” to have been the first Republican presidential nominee “to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression.” It said the president is “determined to protect the rights of all Americans, including the LGBTQ community.”

In other news, I got an urgent email from the USCCB yesterday, asking me to “urge President Trump (to) sign executive order respecting religious freedom.”

I am going to send off a request that President Trump sign an executive order respecting religious freedom. I urge you to do the same.

From the USCCB:

Urge President Trump to Sign Executive Order Respecting Religious Freedom

Religious freedom in America has suffered years of unprecedented erosion.  President Trump can correct some of this within the executive branch.  He can restore the federal government’s respect for the religious freedom of individuals and organizations by signing an Executive Order that establishes a government-wide initiative to respect religious freedom.

Elements of such an Order should include:

  • Relief from the mandate of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that forces the Little Sisters of the Poor and others to facilitate the provision of contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs and devices in their health plans.
  • Preservation of tax-exempt status for nonprofits that hold beliefs based on marriage, human sexuality, and the protection of human life at all stages.
  • The ability of religious organizations that partner with the federal government to act according to their beliefs regarding marriage, human sexuality, and the protection of human life at all stages.
  • A broad religious exemption to Executive Order 13672 so that faith-based organizations can continue to partner with the federal government to provide much-needed services here at home and abroad.
  • The ability of religiously affiliated child welfare providers to provide adoption, foster, or family support services for children in accordance with their religious beliefs.
  • Protection of accreditation for religious schools based on their beliefs.
  • Conscience protections regarding abortion in the individual health insurance market.

Any Executive Order should make it clear that religious freedom entails more than the freedom to worship but also includes the ability of act on one’s beliefs.  It should also protect individuals and families who run closely-held businesses in accordance with their faith to the greatest extent possible

In other areas, President Trump has evidently promised to “destroy” the Johnson Amendment to the 1964 Civil Rights Act which prohibits religious entities from preaching politics from the pulpit. Doing this will require passing an actual law through Congress, since the Johnson Amendment is statutory. It hails from those times when Congress actually passed laws.

The bishops might consider that executive orders change with presidents, but laws abide. Religious freedom should be enshrined in law.

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Trump’s Nominee to the Supreme Court: Who is Neil Gorsuch?

Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's nominee to the United States Supeme Court. Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons, 10th Circuit file photo.

Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee to the United States Supeme Court. Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons, 10th Circuit file photo.

President Trump has nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch, who is currently on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, for the Supreme Court.

Judge Gorsuch, an Episcopalian, has written a book in opposition to assisted suicide entitled, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia. In the book, he said “Human life is fundamentally and inherently valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong.”

Note the caveat he put in that statement, “by private persons.” I interpret that to mean that he supports the death penalty.

I think it is important that he wrote this book in 2006, which means he was not writing it to promote himself vs a vs this nomination.

He is married to his college sweetheart and only wife, Marie Louise. Mrs Gorsuch is originally from Britain. Judge Gorsuch referred to his wife as “Louise” in both his book and during the announcement of his nomination. The couple has two daughters.

I am particularly glad that Judge Gorsuch is a solid family man who has two daughters. I’m hopeful that this will give him an understanding of issues that pertain to violence against women and women’s human rights, in particular sexual assault and rape.

Judge Gorsuch has been roundly endorsed by such heavyweights as Robert P George, who has this to say:

Gorsuch and I have worked together on academic projects, most notably when I was the editor of the Princeton University Press book series for which he wrote “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia” — an impressive, deeply scholarly book that was praised by bioethicists (including the liberal Daniel Callahan and the conservative John Keown) as well as academic lawyers — in 2006. The book critically engages the work of scholars (including myself) across a range of disciplines and representing a spectrum of viewpoints. Gorsuch went the extra mile in ensuring that his treatment of the work of other writers — especially those with whom he disagrees — was sympathetic and impeccably accurate. His sheer fair-mindedness was the thing I found most striking about working with him.

In selecting Gorsuch, President Trump has without question fulfilled his pledge to appoint a justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia — a conservative intellectual leader. Even those of us who refused to get on the Trump train after his nomination have to acknowledge that. But one respect in which Gorsuch is unlike Scalia is that he is not fiery or pugnacious. Rather, his demeanor is scholarly — one might even say bookish. He is not a fierce debater. I recall being with him at an academic conference at which a graduate student contradicted and challenged a comment he had made. Far from bristling or even returning fire, he encouraged the student to develop her argument further, graciously acknowledging merit in the point she had made.

The one blot on his record that I have found is not his blot, but his mother’s. His mother, Anne Gorsuch, was the first woman appointed to head the EPA. She was appointed by President Ronald Reagan. During her tenure, she evidently ignored the agency’s statutory mandate by refusing to hear cases, and limiting regulations on toxic waste disposal.

She was later cited for Contempt of Congress for her refusal to submit documents. She resigned her position as head of the EPA.

This concerns me because of the heavy concentration of oil industry advocates in President Trump’s cabinet appointees. Oil independence is a matter of national security. But we must develop our oil resources with the common good as our goal, which means we must balance the demands of the oil industry with public needs and the public good. That will not happen if the industry has too much control of governance.

I haven’t written about this yet, and now is not the time. But I wanted to add that caveat to this round-up of praise for Judge Gorsuch’s nomination as a bit of a warning. When it comes to people, all our idols have clay feet of one sort or the other.

Having said that, I, for one, intend to get behind Judge Gorsuch’s nomination. Hopefully, the Senate will conduct reasonable and intelligent hearings on his fitness without the usual craziness.

 

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Read it Yourself. Here’s the Full Text of Trump’s Immigration Order.

Photo Source: White House web site file photo.

Photo Source: White House web site file photo.

This is the full text of President Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration. In my opinion, it is poorly drafted and incomplete. It is also getting into areas that would be better handled by legislative action. It is not enough to just say that the people who oppose what you do are all evil and bad. You need to do a good job yourself. I am putting it here so you can read it, and decide for yourself. How could it have been worded to avoid the unintended consequences that have cropped up in its wake.

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Executive Order: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements

EXECUTIVE ORDER

– – – – – – –

BORDER SECURITY AND IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT IMPROVEMENTS

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.) (INA), the Secure Fence Act of 2006 (Public Law 109 367) (Secure Fence Act), and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (Public Law 104 208 Div. C) (IIRIRA), and in order to ensure the safety and territorial integrity of the United States as well as to ensure that the Nation’s immigration laws are faithfully executed, I hereby order as follows:

Section 1.  Purpose.  Border security is critically important to the national security of the United States.  Aliens who illegally enter the United States without inspection or admission present a significant threat to national security and public safety.  Such aliens have not been identified or inspected by Federal immigration officers to determine their admissibility to the United States.  The recent surge of illegal immigration at the southern border with Mexico has placed a significant strain on Federal resources and overwhelmed agencies charged with border security and immigration enforcement, as well as the local communities into which many of the aliens are placed.

Transnational criminal organizations operate sophisticated drug- and human-trafficking networks and smuggling operations on both sides of the southern border, contributing to a significant increase in violent crime and United States deaths from dangerous drugs.  Among those who illegally enter are those who seek to harm Americans through acts of terror or criminal conduct.  Continued illegal immigration presents a clear and present danger to the interests of the United States.

Federal immigration law both imposes the responsibility and provides the means for the Federal Government, in cooperation with border States, to secure the Nation’s southern border.  Although Federal immigration law provides a robust framework for Federal-State partnership in enforcing our immigration laws    and the Congress has authorized and provided appropriations to secure our borders    the Federal Government has failed to discharge this basic sovereign responsibility.  The purpose of this order is to direct executive departments and agencies (agencies) to deploy all lawful means to secure the Nation’s southern border, to prevent further illegal immigration into the United States, and to repatriate illegal aliens swiftly, consistently, and humanely.

Sec. 2.  Policy.  It is the policy of the executive branch to:

(a)  secure the southern border of the United States through the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border, monitored and supported by adequate personnel so as to prevent illegal immigration, drug and human trafficking, and acts of terrorism;

(b)  detain individuals apprehended on suspicion of violating Federal or State law, including Federal immigration law, pending further proceedings regarding those violations;

(c)  expedite determinations of apprehended individuals’ claims of eligibility to remain in the United States;

(d)  remove promptly those individuals whose legal claims to remain in the United States have been lawfully rejected, after any appropriate civil or criminal sanctions have been imposed; and

(e)  cooperate fully with States and local law enforcement in enacting Federal-State partnerships to enforce Federal immigration priorities, as well as State monitoring and detention programs that are consistent with Federal law and do not undermine Federal immigration priorities.

Sec. 3.  Definitions.  (a)  “Asylum officer” has the meaning given the term in section 235(b)(1)(E) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1225(b)(1)).

(b)  “Southern border” shall mean the contiguous land border between the United States and Mexico, including all points of entry.

(c)  “Border States” shall mean the States of the United States immediately adjacent to the contiguous land border between the United States and Mexico.

(d)  Except as otherwise noted, “the Secretary” shall refer to the Secretary of Homeland Security.

(e)  “Wall” shall mean a contiguous, physical wall or other similarly secure, contiguous, and impassable physical barrier.

(f)  “Executive department” shall have the meaning given in section 101 of title 5, United States Code.

(g)  “Regulations” shall mean any and all Federal rules, regulations, and directives lawfully promulgated by agencies.

(h)  “Operational control” shall mean the prevention of all unlawful entries into the United States, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, instruments of terrorism, narcotics, and other contraband.

Sec. 4.  Physical Security of the Southern Border of the United States.  The Secretary shall immediately take the following steps to obtain complete operational control, as determined by the Secretary, of the southern border:

(a)  In accordance with existing law, including the Secure Fence Act and IIRIRA, take all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control of the southern border;

(b)  Identify and, to the extent permitted by law, allocate all sources of Federal funds for the planning, designing, and constructing of a physical wall along the southern border;

(c)  Project and develop long-term funding requirements for the wall, including preparing Congressional budget requests for the current and upcoming fiscal years; and

(d)  Produce a comprehensive study of the security of the southern border, to be completed within 180 days of this order, that shall include the current state of southern border security, all geophysical and topographical aspects of the southern border, the availability of Federal and State resources necessary to achieve complete operational control of the southern border, and a strategy to obtain and maintain complete operational control of the southern border.

Sec. 5.  Detention Facilities.  (a)  The Secretary shall take all appropriate action and allocate all legally available resources to immediately construct, operate, control, or establish contracts to construct, operate, or control facilities to detain aliens at or near the land border with Mexico.

(b)  The Secretary shall take all appropriate action and allocate all legally available resources to immediately assign asylum officers to immigration detention facilities for the purpose of accepting asylum referrals and conducting credible fear determinations pursuant to section 235(b)(1) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1225(b)(1)) and applicable regulations and reasonable fear determinations pursuant to applicable regulations.

(c)  The Attorney General shall take all appropriate action and allocate all legally available resources to immediately assign immigration judges to immigration detention facilities operated or controlled by the Secretary, or operated or controlled pursuant to contract by the Secretary, for the purpose of conducting proceedings authorized under title 8, chapter 12, subchapter II, United States Code.

Sec. 6.  Detention for Illegal Entry.  The Secretary shall immediately take all appropriate actions to ensure the detention of aliens apprehended for violations of immigration law pending the outcome of their removal proceedings or their removal from the country to the extent permitted by law.  The Secretary shall issue new policy guidance to all Department of Homeland Security personnel regarding the appropriate and consistent use of lawful detention authority under the INA, including the termination of the practice commonly known as “catch and release,” whereby aliens are routinely released in the United States shortly after their apprehension for violations of immigration law.

Sec. 7.  Return to Territory.  The Secretary shall take appropriate action, consistent with the requirements of section 1232 of title 8, United States Code, to ensure that aliens described in section 235(b)(2)(C) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1225(b)(2)(C)) are returned to the territory from which they came pending a formal removal proceeding.

Sec. 8.  Additional Border Patrol Agents.  Subject to available appropriations, the Secretary, through the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, shall take all appropriate action to hire 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents, and all appropriate action to ensure that such agents enter on duty and are assigned to duty stations as soon as is practicable.

Sec. 9.  Foreign Aid Reporting Requirements.  The head of each executive department and agency shall identify and quantify all sources of direct and indirect Federal aid or assistance to the Government of Mexico on an annual basis over the past five years, including all bilateral and multilateral development aid, economic assistance, humanitarian aid, and military aid.  Within 30 days of the date of this order, the head of each executive department and agency shall submit this information to the Secretary of State.  Within 60 days of the date of this order, the Secretary shall submit to the President a consolidated report reflecting the levels of such aid and assistance that has been provided annually, over each of the past five years.

Sec. 10.  Federal-State Agreements.  It is the policy of the executive branch to empower State and local law enforcement agencies across the country to perform the functions of an immigration officer in the interior of the United States to the maximum extent permitted by law.

(a)  In furtherance of this policy, the Secretary shall immediately take appropriate action to engage with the Governors of the States, as well as local officials, for the purpose of preparing to enter into agreements under section 287(g) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1357(g)).

(b)  To the extent permitted by law, and with the consent of State or local officials, as appropriate, the Secretary shall take appropriate action, through agreements under section 287(g) of the INA, or otherwise, to authorize State and local law enforcement officials, as the Secretary determines are qualified and appropriate, to perform the functions of immigration officers in relation to the investigation, apprehension, or detention of aliens in the United States under the direction and the supervision of the Secretary.  Such authorization shall be in addition to, rather than in place of, Federal performance of these duties.

(c)  To the extent permitted by law, the Secretary may structure each agreement under section 287(g) of the INA in the manner that provides the most effective model for enforcing Federal immigration laws and obtaining operational control over the border for that jurisdiction.

Sec. 11.  Parole, Asylum, and Removal.  It is the policy of the executive branch to end the abuse of parole and asylum provisions currently used to prevent the lawful removal of removable aliens.

(a)  The Secretary shall immediately take all appropriate action to ensure that the parole and asylum provisions of Federal immigration law are not illegally exploited to prevent the removal of otherwise removable aliens.

(b)  The Secretary shall take all appropriate action, including by promulgating any appropriate regulations, to ensure that asylum referrals and credible fear determinations pursuant to section 235(b)(1) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1125(b)(1)) and 8 CFR 208.30, and reasonable fear determinations pursuant to 8 CFR 208.31, are conducted in a manner consistent with the plain language of those provisions.

(c)  Pursuant to section 235(b)(1)(A)(iii)(I) of the INA, the Secretary shall take appropriate action to apply, in his sole and unreviewable discretion, the provisions of section 235(b)(1)(A)(i) and (ii) of the INA to the aliens designated under section 235(b)(1)(A)(iii)(II).

(d)  The Secretary shall take appropriate action to ensure that parole authority under section 212(d)(5) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5)) is exercised only on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the plain language of the statute, and in all circumstances only when an individual demonstrates urgent humanitarian reasons or a significant public benefit derived from such parole.

(e)  The Secretary shall take appropriate action to require that all Department of Homeland Security personnel are properly trained on the proper application of section 235 of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (8 U.S.C. 1232) and section 462(g)(2) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 279(g)(2)), to ensure that unaccompanied alien children are properly processed, receive appropriate care and placement while in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security, and, when appropriate, are safely repatriated in accordance with law.

Sec. 12.  Authorization to Enter Federal Lands.  The Secretary, in conjunction with the Secretary of the Interior and any other heads of agencies as necessary, shall take all appropriate action to:

(a)  permit all officers and employees of the United States, as well as all State and local officers as authorized by the Secretary, to have access to all Federal lands as necessary and appropriate to implement this order; and

(b)  enable those officers and employees of the United States, as well as all State and local officers as authorized by the Secretary, to perform such actions on Federal lands as the Secretary deems necessary and appropriate to implement this order.

Sec. 13.  Priority Enforcement.  The Attorney General shall take all appropriate steps to establish prosecution guidelines and allocate appropriate resources to ensure that Federal prosecutors accord a high priority to prosecutions of offenses having a nexus to the southern border.

Sec. 14.  Government Transparency.  The Secretary shall, on a monthly basis and in a publicly available way, report statistical data on aliens apprehended at or near the southern border using a uniform method of reporting by all Department of Homeland Security components, in a format that is easily understandable by the public.

Sec. 15.  Reporting.  Except as otherwise provided in this order, the Secretary, within 90 days of the date of this order, and the Attorney General, within 180 days, shall each submit to the President a report on the progress of the directives contained in this order.

Sec. 16.  Hiring.  The Office of Personnel Management shall take appropriate action as may be necessary to facilitate hiring personnel to implement this order.

Sec. 17.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

DONALD J. TRUMP

THE WHITE HOUSE,
January 25, 2017.

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Pope Francis Highlights the Role of Mary in 2017

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by thierry ehrmann https://www.flickr.com/photos/home_of_chaos/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by thierry ehrmann https://www.flickr.com/photos/home_of_chaos/

YouTube Preview Image
Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

5 Quick Takes on the Trump Travel Ban

 

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons, by Fibonacci Blue https://www.flickr.com/photos/fibonacciblue/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons, by Fibonacci Blue https://www.flickr.com/photos/fibonacciblue/

For what it’s worth, I support the idea of immigration reform, including limiting immigration from countries with which we are engaged in hostilities.

I do think the roll-out on the Executive order which touched off all these demonstrations was amateurish, as was the wording of the order itself. It had way too much sloppy, off-the-cuff verbiage, where unintended consequences could and did occur.

Pushback on something like this is to be expected. That’s why presidents are usually not so careless in how they draft these things. Governance takes a lot more thought and hard work than sloganeering. That’s because governance is the real deal, with real consequences on real people’s lives.

Here are a few bits of reportage on the topic of the recent immigration executive order. I chose them based on the fact that they were not trying to scandalize, but were simply reporting the situation. I am putting them before my readers in an effort to encourage you to think and let think.

Every side has another side, and good laws are made by respecting that other side and listening to what they have to say, then revising if there is merit to the criticisms.

That’s called thinking, and working toward the common good.

From the Telegraph, Trump’s travel ban explained in 90 seconds.

YouTube Preview Image

Another objective bit of reporting from CBS.

Trump supporter, defends travel ban on British TV.

YouTube Preview Image

Former Iraqi interpreter for US speaks in support of the ban.

YouTube Preview Image

A calm and open discussion without name-calling and craziness from PBS.

 

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Taking Off Until Monday.

I’m taking a long weekend. I’ll try to be back Monday.

Here’s hoping you have a great March for Life, a wonderful weekend, and a Holy Sabbath day.

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Pope Francis’ Tweet for the Day

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by thierry ehrmann https://www.flickr.com/photos/home_of_chaos/

Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by thierry ehrmann https://www.flickr.com/photos/home_of_chaos/

“I love to repeat that Christian unity is achieved by walking together, by encounter, prayer and preaching the Gospel.” Pope Francis

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Come On News Folk, Cover the March for Life

I love this one. The Hunters for Life sign is so Okie. I love Oklahoma. Copyright: Diocese of Tulsa. Used with Permission. All Rights Reserved.

This is a photo of the Tulsa March for Life a couple of years ago. I love this one. The Hunters for Life sign is so Okie. I love Oklahoma. Copyright: Diocese of Tulsa. Used with Permission. All Rights Reserved. 

Every year we march. Tens of thousands of us march for life in the cold and the mush, year after year. We march in Tulsa and San Francisco and Washington, DC.

And every year the news folk ignore us. This unprofessional black out is a big part of why so many pro life people do not believe them when they try to tell truth about other things. They have destroyed their own credibility with these people by decades of denial of what the marchers themselves have experienced, which is a huge outpouring of protest of Roe and love for the unborn.

This has alienated and bred mistrust in generations of pro life people concerning the mainstream media.

mrcNewsBusters is trying to do something about this. They have issued a call for the news networks to cover this year’s annual March for Life. Hopefully, it will bear fruit.

From mrcNewsBusters:

RESTON, VA – The Alliance for Fair Coverage of Life Issues announces its second annual #CoverTheMarchcampaign today, calling on the media to cover the 2017 March for Life and cover it fairly. The annual event held in Washington, D.C. draws hundreds of thousands of peaceful participants from all over the country. This year’s March for Life, Friday, January 27, marks the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand.

The Alliance for Fair Coverage of Life Issues, a coalition of 25 pro-life organizations and two members of Congress was formed in 2016 in response to the consistently poor coverage media outlets have given to important, newsworthy life issues. Last year’s censorship of the March for Life (which received a total of only 35 seconds of coverage from the broadcast networks) confirmed the media’s contempt for those who don’t share their liberal social agenda. Since the media covered the pro-abortion “Women’s March on Washington” this year for 4,518 seconds, they should give comparable coverage to the hundreds of thousands of peaceful pro-life marchers.

Brent Bozell, President of the Media Research Center:
“This Friday is a true test for the media. They provided massive, and fawning coverage of the pro-abortion ‘Women’s March’ just four days ago. The media’s coverage of the ‘March for Life’ in two days, both in time and tone, will tell you everything you need to know about their support for abortion. With media’s trust in the basement, they will be exposed for the partisan hacks they are if they don’t give pro-lifers the same amount of coverage. I’m not holding my breath.”

 

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK

Trump Signs Order to Build Border Wall

One way to bypass Customs; crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Brian Ralphs https://www.flickr.com/photos/birdbrian/

One way to bypass Customs; crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Brian Ralphs https://www.flickr.com/photos/birdbrian/

President Trump signed an executive order today to build a wall on the border between the United States and Mexico. I haven’t read this order, but I question whether or not he can do this without legislation from Congress, since it involves what sounds like direct apportionment of monies and lawmaking.

Presidential executive orders are supposed to be directives concerning the enforcement and interpretation of existing law. The Supreme Court has ruled that they may not step over into actual one-man lawmaking.

This is often a fine point, and it may not matter here. There may very well be a statute on which President Trump has hung this order. However, even if there is, I am wondering how the wall will be built without Congressional appropriations.

As I said, I can’t find the order to read it directly, so what I’m saying is just a guess on my part. The president may very well have all these bases covered.

Even if that is true, I would remind Public Catholic readers that this is a massive amount of power for any president to exercise in this way. It is essentially a legislative action taken by the president alone, without Congress. It is, even if it stands legally, lawmaking by the president.

Conservatives have decried this advancing power of the presidency for a long time now. I wonder if they will reverse their opinions and support this sort of thing now that they like what the President is doing. Whether you support the president’s actions or not, it is still a move toward an elected dictator, rather than the division of powers which has served to keep us free for over 200 years.

In another executive order, the president did something to require that Federal laws concerning immigration will be obeyed, on penalty of losing Federal grant monies. Again, I haven’t seen a copy of the order, so I’m taking the White House press statements at face value.

However, I believe that anything that curbs business interests’ desire to hire the cheap labor of illegal immigrants would be far more effective at reducing the influx over the border than any wall. I think people cross the Rio Grande into this country in search of security from oppressive regimes and jobs.

From The Hill:

President Trump on Wednesday signed two executive orders on immigration, including one that directs federal agencies to begin construction of a wall on the border with Mexico, his signature campaign promise.

Trump signed the actions during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security as his aides met in the White House with two top Mexican cabinet officials, according to the Associated Press.

One of the orders signed by Trump calls for the construction of “a large physical barrier on the southern border,” according to White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

The other order deals with immigration enforcement and ends the “catch and release” policy that quickly returned border crossers back to Mexico instead of arresting and processing them for deportation. The policy was a fixture of the Bush administration and was later reinstated on an informal basis by former President Barack Obama.

“Federal agents are going to unapologetically enforce the law, no ifs, ands or buts,” Spicer said.

The immigration actions also seek to withhold visas from countries to make sure they take back people in the U.S. illegally who are found to have broken U.S. laws. It would also strip federal grants from “sanctuary” cities and states that do not enforce federal immigration laws.

“We’re going to strip federal grant money from the sanctuary states and cities that harbor illegal immigrants,” Spicer said.

Like Patheos Catholic on Facebook!

Patheos Catholic LogoCLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK