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Initial reaction to refugee ban ranges from concern to opposition


A woman holds a sign during a Jan. 31 protest at Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia. The group was protesting President Donald Trump's executive memorandum suspending admission of any refugees to the U.S. for 120 days and banning entry for 90 days of people from seven predominantly Muslim nations. (CNS photo/Zoey Maraist, Arlington Catholic Herlad)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Within hours of President Donald Trump's new executive order March 6 banning arrivals from six majority-Muslim nations, Catholic and other religious groups joined secular leaders in questioning the wisdom of such a move, with others vowing to oppose it outright.

Bill O'Keefe, vice president for advocacy and government relations at Catholic Relief Services, said in a statement, "As the world's most blessed nation, we should be doing more to provide assistance overseas and resettle the most vulnerable, not less. It is wrong, during this time of great need, to cut humanitarian assistance and reduce resettlement."

O'Keefe added, "Refugees are fleeing the same terrorism that we seek to protect ourselves from. By welcoming them, we show the world that we are an open, tolerant nation which seeks to protect the vulnerable. That has always been America's greatest strength."

"At the heart of the work of Catholic Charities is the Gospel mandate to welcome the stranger and care for the most vulnerable among us," said Dominican Sister Donna Markham, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, in a statement.

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