A Statement from Most Rev. Robert Cunningham, Bishop of Syracuse, in Response to the Ban on Refugees

Most Reverend Bishop Robert Cunningham

Most Reverend Bishop Robert Cunningham

SYRACUSE, NY – The executive order creating a 120-day ban on refugees’ admission into the United States has shaken America to its very core.

Refugees who have endured violence, racial and religious discrimination, and personal tragedy in their own countries and patiently followed a vetting system did so with the one hope that they would soon be free.

But now, they are yet again delayed and detained.

In our own diocese, Catholic Charities reports that 220 refugees who had already been vetted and approved to come to Syracuse are on hold for months.

Can any one of us here in America imagine leaving our homeland and our family members, traveling through unsecured routes under constant threat of capture or death to follow a dream to live a better life with our children?

In our history, we don’t have to imagine because our country was founded by people just like them.

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

These words by Emma Lazarus, in her poem “The New Colossus,” are inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty.

This action is simply un-Christian and un-American.

We cannot tolerate racial and religious injustice.

We must stand with our refugees.

Yes, screen vigilantly as we have, but never abandon our commitment to help others seek peace and freedom.

Please join me on Sunday, Feb. 5, at 9:45 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception as I celebrate a special Mass in Solidarity with Refugees and Exiles.

I will also be asking all parishes in the Diocese of Syracuse to pray for this intention: “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Mt 25:35).


  1. Its funny how these people that dont pay taxes want people who work to pay for refugees, let the church pay, oh oh my give a dam is broken

  2. The Bishop is a fear monger, the United States has not been shaken to its core (despite what the left wing media and assorted celebrities say). The 120 day pause is to allow for additional vetting procedures to be established. Religious and racial injustice? Similar numbers of Christian and Muslim refugees are allowed into this country so I guess it’s hitting every religion equally. How about the Cuban refugees that former President Obama held up from coming here a few weeks ago? They live under an oppressive murderous regime. Where was your statement of outrage then?

  3. The poem mentioned in this article may have been relevant 100+ years ago when the United States was still in the infancy of the industrial age. Since then we have become a nation of over 350 million people. We are self-sufficient now. People tend to forget that we are not reliant on the rest the world to put food on our own table, have a thriving economy, or defend our nation. This executive order is only temporary. Let me say that again. Temporary. At some point additional measures will be instituted to properly vet immigrants. In the meantime those people that are here on visas should have more frequent periodic reinvestigations to ensure that they are worthy of staying in our country. Those that are criminals or show up on terrorist watchlist need the first plane out of the country. Too many of these visa holders fall through the cracks and disappear into the system. There is nothing wrong with wanting to preserve the American way of life and protect our citizens from those that wish to do us harm. The Church has a long and steeped history of doing the very same thing to protect their values and way of life. Do I need to go any further? We don’t have time for the pot to call the kettle black.

  4. As a Catholic I do not support the Bishop or the catholic church on this issue the safety of America & all Americans comes first. Furthermore I 100% support everything President Trump has done & will do God Bless President Trump.

  5. tRUMP has no answer for home-grown terrorists, like McVeigh, Mateen, the Tsarnaev brothers, or Maj. Nidal Hasan.

  6. Why is the Vatican a walled in community ? The Bishop should read the Book of Nehemiah, the rebuilding of the wall and the position of Sanballet and Tobiah in opposition to the Prophet. Nehemiah had a Sword in one hand and a trowel in the other……

  7. Arier, Presidend TRUMP has done more in less than two weeks to help protect you and all amercans from terrorist than oboma, did in 8 years give him time to do things that will protect us all.

Comments are closed.