Press Release

Statement on Executive Order Addressing the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program

Diocese of Green Bay LogoGREEN BAY, Wis. (Jan. 30, 2017) -- On January 27, 2017, President Donald J. Trump issued an Executive Order addressing the U.S. refugee admissions program and migration to the United States, generally. The executive order virtually shuts down the refugee admissions program for 120 days, reduces the number of refugees to be admitted to the United States this year from 110,000 to 50,000 individuals, and indefinitely suspends the resettlement of Syrian refugees. In addition, it prioritizes religious minorities suffering from religious persecution, thereby deprioritizing all other persons fleeing persecution; calls for a temporary bar on admission to the United States from a number of countries of particular concern (all Muslim majority); and imposes a yet-to-be determined new vetting process for all persons seeking entry to the United States (USCCB, 1/27/17).

The Diocese of Green Bay has a long history of refugee resettlement through Catholic Charities, including the resettlement of the Hmong community and the unaccompanied Cuban children through Operation Pedro Pan. In more recent years many other groups including, Somali and Iraqi refugees, both of whom are on the ban list, have also benefitted from refugee, immigrant, and family strengthening services. The Diocese of Green Bay will continue to work vigorously through the efforts of Catholic Charities to ensure refugees, whom are some of the most vulnerable among us, are welcomed with compassion and mercy. The common goal is to not sacrifice our security or core values as Americans, but to ensure that families are served with dignity and are reunified with their loved ones.

Recalls Holy Family

"Having just celebrated National Migration Week, January 8-14, the Holy Family is called to mind as they themselves fled as refugees to Egypt," said Bishop David L. Ricken, Bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay. "Imagine them exhausted arriving at the Egyptian border, only to be turned away by officials and told to go back where they came from, to a place where King Herod was searching for the Christ Child in order to kill him (Matthew 2:13-23)."

Bishop Ricken agrees with Archbishop Cordileone, and his fellow bishops, in their call to Congress and the Administration to work together to comprehensively repair our nation's flawed immigration system, which divides families and undermines human dignity. "Such reform, long overdue, should preserve family unity, ensure the due process of law, protect those fleeing persecution, and ensure the integrity of our nation's borders" (Archbishop Cordileone, July, 2015).

All Children of God

As Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the Committee on Migration stated, "... we need to protect all our brothers and sisters of all faiths, including Muslims, who have lost family, home, and country. They are children of God and are entitled to be treated with human dignity. We believe that by helping to resettle the most vulnerable, we are living out our Christian faith as Jesus has challenged us to do."


Who We Are

The Catholic Diocese of Green Bay works to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ by helping people in need and by providing academic, leadership and spiritual formation opportunities to parish and school leaders. Established in 1868, the Diocese is composed of 324,000 Catholics in 16 counties: Brown, Calumet, Door, Florence, Forest, Kewaunee, Langlade, Manitowoc, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano, Waupaca, Waushara and Winnebago.


Justine Lodl
Director of Communications
Phone: (920) 272-8213
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Sarah Bradford
Communications Coordinator
Phone: (920) 272-8209
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