504 Hexton Hill Road
Silver Spring, MD 20904
February 8, 2017
President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Trump,
The Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd has had a presence in the United States for over 175 years. The Sisters and Mission Partners have dedicated themselves to serving girls, women and families who experience poverty, exploitation, vulnerability and marginalization. Our programs address the social, psychological and economic needs of thousands of persons/families on low-income in 22 states and 1 U.S. Territory. In addition, the Sisters and Mission Partners provide services in 70 other countries.
Our work is based on the belief that everyone, regardless of age, sex, culture or religion, has the right to a basic quality of life. This quality of life includes adequate income, shelter, opportunities for education and employment, quality health care, and nutrition. As Catholics, our faith requires that everyone should be treated with the utmost dignity and respect.
Based upon that belief system, we request that you rescind your recent executive order that bans refugees from entering the country for 120 days and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations - Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia - for three months. Your executive order also bars the resettlement of Syrian refugees indefinitely. More than 61 million people have been displaced from their homes, more than at any time since World War II. Some 21 million are refugees, most of whom are children who have been forced from their homes by unthinkable violence. We cannot turn our backs on families who are literally running for their lives.
Secondly, we urge you to rescind your executive orders directing the construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and stripping sanctuary cities of federal grant funding. Construction of such a wall will require an investment of somewhere between $10 billion and $20 billion. Staffing and maintenance would involve additional costs. Such expenditures will divert funding from health, education, and social programs and will not contribute to the security of America. In fact, such action threatens the health and wellbeing of border communities, the environment, and those seeking refuge in our country. If enacted, your orders will tear
families apart, challenge our already stressed immigration courts, and deny those fleeing persecution and violence their right to asylum.
This nation has a long history of welcoming immigrants and sheltering refugees. Women religious have consistently been on the forefront accompanying and serving immigrant and refugee communities across this country. Good Shepherd Sisters remain committed to welcoming refugees who come to this country after passing through the U.S. government’s already rigorous screening processes. Halting or undermining the U.S. refugee resettlement program further exposes vulnerable refugees, including women and children fleeing violence, to extreme danger and diminishes us all.
In our ever evolving, interconnected world, the exclusion of people has no place. Rather this new consciousness seeks and desires the common good of all beyond borders. Protectionism no longer has a place. Our common humanity calls us to meet the other with respect, guided by internationally agreed upon laws and informed by human rights, the dignity of the person, compassion and mercy. Thank you for your consideration of our request. We look forward to your reply.
Circle of Provincials of North America
Sr. Francisca Aguillón, RGS Sr. Maureen McGowan, RGS Sr. Madeleine Munday, RGS
Central South Province New York/Toronto Province Mid-North America Province
U.S. Province Leader U.S. Province Leader U.S. Province Leader
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
Lawrence E. Couch