By Barb Fraze, Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) — President Donald Trump enacted two executive memorandums to deal with the country’s security, including one that calls for construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“This will stem the flow of drugs, crime and illegal immigration” along the southern border, said White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who reiterated that Mexico will end up paying for the wall. The memorandum also would create more detention space for people who illegally cross into the United States, he said.
Spicer said Trump would work with Congress on finding money to pay for the construction, noting, “there are a lot of funding mechanisms that can be used.”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has formed a working group to closely monitor executive memorandums and legislation on immigration, but no reaction from the bishops was available immediately after Trump signed the memorandums Jan. 25 at the Department of Homeland Security.
Editor’s note: A statement was released in the evening: Committee on Migration Chair Strongly Opposes Administration’s Announcement to Build a Wall at U.S.-Mexico Border, Increase Detention and Deportation Forces
However, Bill O’Keefe, vice president for government relations and advocacy at Catholic Relief Services, which works in Central America, said Catholics “cannot escape our responsibility to the poor and vulnerable who are suffering around the world.”
“Our position consistently has been while nations have a right to maintain their borders, people fleeing violence, as we in Central America see every day … we have a responsibility to welcome them as refugees and offer them safe protection,” he told Catholic News Service hours before Trump signed the memorandums.