WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - President Trump is announcing sweeping immigration reform measures, including a ban on refugees and a wall on the border of Mexico.
Trump said in a tweet Tuesday, "Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY. ... Among many other things, we will build the wall!" Whitehouse spokesman, Sean Spicer, called the wall "a common-sense first step towards securing our border."
Visiting the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Trump signed two executive orders regarding immigration. One is directed to strip federal grants and funding for so-called sanctuary cities where the local government refuses to enforce immigration laws against illegal aliens.
Sanctuary cities violate federal law, forbidding "concealing or harboring unauthorized aliens, encouraging or inducing unauthorized aliens to enter the United States, and engaging in a conspiracy or aiding and abetting any of the preceding acts."
It has been reported that sanctuary cities have higher levels of crime. Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Idaho all have more than fifteen cities or counties granting sanctuary to illegal aliens. There are over 300 illegal sanctuary areas in the United States.
The executive order also directs the hiring of 5,000 more U.S. Customs and Border Control agents to strengthen the U.S. and Mexico border. It will also triple the resources for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — the agency which arrests and deports illegal aliens.
Trump also tweeted he will have voter fraud investigated, claiming more than three million votes were cast by illegal aliens. Of the 19 states that don't require some form of ID before voting, 15 of them voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
Another executive order will seek to block immigration from the known terror regions of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, with exceptions for those refugees who are members of religious minorities escaping persecution.
In 2016, Judge Daniel Manion of the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals questioned the Obama administration on "the apparent lack of Syrian Christians as a part of immigrants from that country"
He asserted, "It is well-documented that refugees to the United States are not representative of that war-torn area of the world. Perhaps 10 percent of the population of Syria is Christian, and yet less than one-half of one percent of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States this year are Christian."
It had, on the other hand, formally requested the Obama administration to allow 100,000 Syrian refugees by the beginning of 2016. The USCCB has had four "border Masses" along the U.S. and Mexico border to raise awareness for their cause of immigration reform.
Catholic canon lawyer Dr. Ed Peters writes in his blog that it is a violation of canon law to celebrate Mass for a political reason. He notes that Canon 932 §1 declares, "The eucharistic celebration is to be carried out in a sacred place unless in a particular case necessity requires otherwise; in such a case the celebration must be done in a decent place."
He comments, "Obviously, no one suggests that the border is a 'sacred place' in the canonical meaning of that term, so the question becomes whether necessity required Holy Mass to be celebrated at the border."
The USCCB has championed immigration reform, receiving billions of dollars from the U.S. government to resettle immigrants. It was reported last year that in 2014 the USCCB received over $80 million for its migration fund alone.