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Jesuit Refugee Service/USA Continues to Oppose Religious Test for Entry into the United States
June 26, 2018

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA Continues to Oppose Religious Test for Entry into the United States

Washington, 26 June 2018 - Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is disappointed at today’s Supreme Court decision which will allow the Trump Administration to continue the use of the so called “travel ban” first enacted by Executive Order in January 2017. 

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled the ban constitutional, thereby upholding suspension of entry into the United States by nationals of six Muslim-majority countries — Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen — and a smaller number of North Koreans and Venezuelans. Although the restrictions on Chad have since been lifted, the ban remains in effect for nationals of the other seven countries on most, or all, types of visas, even if they have spouses, children, parents, or other family members in the United States. This decision will impact thousands of displaced people and other vulnerable individuals and families who are seeking protection in the U.S. 

JRS/USA continues to oppose this ban and religious test for entry into the United States. The travel ban is inherently discriminatory as it restricts travel to the U.S. on the basis of place of origin and religion rather than on the criteria firmly established by U.S. and international law. It violates Catholic social teaching by denying protection, compassion, and solidarity towards those who seek refuge. Furthermore, it restricts entry to those who need it most - the men, women, and children who have been victimized by terrorism, insecurity, and displacement. 

“It is at the core of our Catholic and American values to welcome those fleeing from persecution and violence and grant them safety, dignity, and an opportunity to contribute to our diverse communities,” says Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Director, JRS/USA. “The United States should welcome and not fear displaced people, including those named in the travel ban.” This sentiment is echoed in Justice Sotomayor's dissenting decision: "The United States of America is a Nation built upon the promise of religious liberty. Our Founders honored that core promise by embedding the principle of religious neutrality in the First Amendment. The Court’s decision today fails to safeguard that fundamental principle." 

JRS/USA remains committed to working to ensure that no vulnerable group or nationality is excluded from entry into the U.S. based on arbitrary factors and working with our brothers and sisters across the globe to restore the dignity of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons.

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