Educators, Religious Leaders Weigh in on Trump Immigration Ban

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DUNMORE -- On the campus of Penn State Worthington Scranton in Lackawanna County, Chancellor Marwan Wafa is still shocked over the recent executive order by President Donald Trump restricting travel to the United States for people from several predominantly Muslim countries.

"It's very sad. It's a negative reflection on what this country is all about," Dr. Wafa said.

Wafa grew up in Kuwait. His office still has a proclamation he once got from then-Governor Mike Pence during his time in Indiana.

The president's recent executive order prompted Penn State University President Eric Barron to issue a statement to students warning about potential problems for them as well as faculty and staff as a result of the administration's actions.

"If you don't have to leave - stay. Carry documentation that proves your legal status until we get clarification on - or maybe an improvement on - the language of the act."

If you glanced at social media, you probably saw someone talking about this executive order or the protests that followed.

Several lawmakers weighed in on the issue. Senator Bob Casey even showed up at the Philadelphia International Airport to meet with customs officials after several people were detained.

On the other side of the aisle, Representative Lou Barletta tweeted support of the president's actions.

"I have long called for suspension of refugee program while we can't properly screen applicants. Must know they are who they say they are," Barletta tweeted.

As part of a grassroots organization in the Poconos, Sarah Khan of East Stroudsburg helps refugees from Syria and other countries acclimate to American culture. She said the ban makes people like her feel more targeted.

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton issued a statement Sunday night:

"The United States has a long and proud history of welcoming persons from other countries who come to our land seeking freedom to practice their religion, live in safety and work hard to provide a decent life for their families. Indeed, the region of the Diocese of Scranton owes much of its heritage and prosperity to immigrants who have and continue to contribute greatly to the fabric of life in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.

Not unlike those who settled in the United States a century ago, the vast majority of today’s immigrants simply seek a better life for themselves and their families. Sadly, many of these same individuals also look to our great land as a refuge in the face of persecution, war and terror in their homelands. These refugees are vetted through a rigorous program that has proven to be effective over the course of many years.

Our Catholic faith calls us to respect life: to welcome the stranger, to treat every life with dignity and respect, and to offer compassion to all, regardless of their country of origin or religious background. Simply put, turning our backs on the most vulnerable in need of our help is not consistent with the values upon which our country was founded and is not consistent with the message of the gospel of Jesus."

3 comments

  • CeeMe

    Blah, blah, blah, say the sheep. You love foreigners so much, you support them in education, healthcare and every other way. Americans are sick of supporting them and are under no obligation to do so. We aren’t the world’s boarding house and have more than enough people in this country already. These losers need to fend for themselves on their own continents, countries and towns. Refugees need only travel a distance of miles to be safe, when their towns are in chaos. Yet they all use whatever excuse they can think of to come to the U.S. Enough, already!

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