CHICAGO — Cardinal Blase Cupich blasted President Donald Trump Sunday for moving to ban entry to the U.S. for refugees and immigrants from predominately Muslim countries, saying his action will be remembered as "a dark moment in U.S. history."
The president's order suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely and blocked entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The president's action was "contrary to both Catholic and American values," the cardinal said.
"The world is watching as we abandon our commitments to American values," Cupich said. "These actions give aid and comfort to those who would destroy our way of life. They lower our estimation in the eyes of the many peoples who want to know America as a defender of human rights and religious liberty, not a nation that targets religious populations and then shuts its doors on them."
In response to the ban, protests erupted all over the country, demanding that the ban — that prevented some legal permanent residents from returning home — be reversed immediately.
The cardinal — the first American to be elevated to the Catholic Church's highest ranks by Pope Francis — said Trump's action targeted Muslims on the basis of their religion.
"We are told this is not the “Muslim ban” that had been proposed during the presidential campaign, but these actions focus on Muslim-majority countries," Cupich said. "They make an exception for Christians and non-Muslim minorities, but not for Muslims refugees fleeing for their lives. Ironically, this ban does not include the home country of 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers. Yet, people from Iraq, even those who assisted our military in a destructive war, are excluded."
In a tweet, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel added his voice to Cupich's statement.
Amen, Your Eminence. https://t.co/5hjQj8QzwH— ChicagosMayor (@ChicagosMayor) January 29, 2017
The order's implementation has been "rushed, chaotic, cruel and oblivious to the realities that will produce enduring security for the United States," Cupich said.
In Chicago, Catholic priests have helped resettle many refugees and immigrants from the countries listed in the ban and are familiar with the lengthy vetting process to ensure no one admitted poses a threat.
"We have seen initial fear turn into a generous willingness of local communities to accept and integrate refugees. Here in Chicago generations of migrants have found a new home," Cupich said. "We are better for it."
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