By Linda Bordoni
US bishops have decried a US Supreme Court ruling that upholds President Donald Trump’s travel ban prohibiting nationals from several countries from entering the United States.
A joint statement issued by the Chairs of the bishops’ Migration and Religious Freedom Committees said the “travel ban targets Muslims for exclusion” and affirmed that “the Catholic Church takes a strong stand against religious discrimination.”
On Tuesday 26 June, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold the ban which prohibits entry into the U.S. of most nationals from five majority-Muslim countries: Libya, Syria, Iran, Yemen and Somalia.
Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville put their signatures to the statement that reads: "The travel ban targets Muslims for exclusion, which goes against our country's core principle of neutrality when it comes to people of faith”.
“We are disappointed, it continued, in the Court's ruling because it failed to take into account the clear and unlawful targeting of a specific religious group by the government”.
The bishops conclude reaffirming their commitment to take “a strong stand against religious discrimination” and vowing to “continue to advocate for the rights of people of all faiths, as well as serve migrants and refugees through our various ministries."
A change to the policy, enacted a few weeks before the Supreme Court was to hear the challenge to the ban, also prohibits entrance of nationals from North Korea, and to certain government officials from Venezuela and their immediate families.
The U.S. bishops’ conference, along with Catholic Charities USA and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., had filed a friend-of-the-court brief in opposition to the travel ban.
The groups argued that the ban was a violation of the free exercise clause of the First Amendment.
You can read the brief here.