On Saturday, Maria Blancheri from the Archdiocese of Newark said an information meeting on how to help resettle refugees was still on for Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at Our Lady of Sorrows in South Orange despite confusion caused by an executive order signed by President Donald Trump on Friday and subsequent action by a federal judge suspending at least parts of the order on Saturday.
Regarding the President’s 120-day ban on all refugees, Blancheri, who is directing an effort to resettle 51 refugees — including some from Syria — this spring in Essex and Hudson counties, said, “We’re pretty upset about the news. I’m not sure what our options are at this point, it’s so soon. We might get some special immigrant visa cases, but even that is unclear at this point.”
(As of Saturday night, Blancheri and others were monitoring news that a federal judge had suspended at least part of the executive order.)
Blancheri also forwarded a strongly worded statement from Cardinal Tobin of Newark, calling President Trump’s executive orders on immigration “the opposite of what it means to be an American.” (See full text below.)
Tobin wrote, “I understand the desire for every American to be assured of safe borders and freedom from terrorism. The federal government should continue a prudent policy aimed at protecting citizens.” However, he added cited scriptural directive to “not oppress an alien… since you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt” as well as, “Whatsoever you did to the least of my brothers, you did to me.”
Tobin also said Trump’s “Executive Actions do not show the United States to be an open and welcoming nation. They are the opposite of what it means to be an American.”
The Cardinal chastised the President for his calls to close borders, build walls, and withdraw federal funding from “sanctuary cities.”
“It only will harm all good people in those communities,” wrote Tobin.
Tobin stated that he is the “grandson of immigrants” and remembered the Detroit neighborhood of his youth as “enriched by people of many nationalities, languages and faiths. Those communities were strong, hard-working, law-abiding, and filled with affection for this nation and its people.”
After describing how the 51 refugees had been vetted and how they would be helped by the archdiocese, Tobin wrote, “This nation has a long and rich history of welcoming those who have sought refuge because of oppression or fear of death. The Acadians, French, Irish, Germans, Italians, Poles, Hungarians, Jews and Vietnamese are just a few of the many groups over the past 260 years whom we have welcomed and helped to find a better, safer life for themselves and their children in America.”