WASHINGTON (ChurchMilitant.com) - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is filing a friend of the court brief against President Donald Trump's travel ban, claiming it is "blatant religious discrimination."
The brief was filed on September 12, a day after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy halted a lower court decision to block Trump's Executive Order 13780, banning the acceptance of "certain aliens" from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, adding, "These are countries that had already been identified as presenting heightened concerns about terrorism."
The bishops, however, claim the order "has both the purpose and effect of discriminating against Muslims," adding that it singles out "the populations of six Muslim nations for sweeping immigration restrictions that apply to no one else in the world, not because of their conduct but because of their faith."
Although the majority of the population of the countries listed in the order are Muslim, there is no language in the document blocking people merely for being Muslim.
The order notes that the Secretary of State and other government officials have labeled them "countries of concern," adding there were "heightened concerns about terrorism and travel to the United States."
The bishops claim their reason for filing the brief is that "Catholics cannot be silent when other religious groups are targeted for mistreatment," adding that Catholic immigrants in the United States were also "victims of discriminatory legislation motivated by religious animus."
While the order had been issued in March 2017, a series of lawsuits against the Trump administration have blocked parts of it from being enacted.
The Ninth Circuit Court was the latest to block the order but on September 11 Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy allowed the order, pending further responses on September 12.