Women religious, bishops denounce US withdrawal from UN talks on migration

Migrants arrive at a naval base Nov. 24 in Tripoli, Libya, after the Libyan coast guard rescued them. (CNS/Reuters/Hani Amara)

Women religious and Catholic bishops are criticizing a decision by President Donald Trump's administration to pull out of United Nations-sponsored talks on two linked global compacts on migration and refugees, calling it a failure of American leadership.

According to a statement by the United States Mission to the United Nations, the U.S. government withdrew from the talks Dec. 2 because it believes the New York Declaration — a 2016 U.N. declaration leading up to the expected compacts next year — "contains numerous provisions that are inconsistent with U.S. immigration and refugee policies and the Trump Administration's immigration principles."

Trump, the mission said, "determined that the United States would end its participation in the Compact process that aims to reach international consensus at the UN in 2018."

But the Leadership Conference of Women Religious took issue with the president, calling the withdrawal a "misguided decision" that is " yet another example of the president's attempts to wall off this nation and subvert its values. Furthermore, the withdrawal from the New York Declaration is yet another demonstration of the failure of U.S. leadership in the global community."

"The world faces an unprecedented global migration crisis," the LCWR statement said. "More than 66 million people are on the move, more than at any time since World War II. Some 17.2 million are refugees; most are children. They have been forced from their homes displaced by war, natural disaster, and endemic poverty. These brothers and sisters of ours are quite literally running for their lives."

The Dec. 4 statement by the association of 1,300 congregational leaders representing approximately 38,800 women religious in the United States went on to say: "The United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants and sheltering refugees. Women religious have been blessed to be able to accompany and serve immigrant and refugee communities across this country and around the world for a very long time.

Read the full story on Global Sisters Report.

Join the Conversation

Send your thoughts and reactions to our online Letters to the Editor column. Learn more here