WASHINGTON — The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops are urging President-elect Donald Trump to adopt humane policies toward immigrants and refugees.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said serving and welcoming people fleeing conflict and violence is part of their identity as Roman Catholics. Church leaders said they would continue to offer that aid.
Trump talked tough about immigration on the campaign trail, including proposing building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and deporting the estimated 11 million people in the country illegally. He later distanced himself from those statements.
In an interview with the CBS program “60 Minutes” broadcast Sunday night, he said he would focus on deporting people with criminal records beyond their immigration status.
Trump also has called to suspend the admission of Syrian refugees in the country.
The bishops made the plea Monday, at the start of their annual fall meeting in Baltimore.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is defending President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of Steve Bannon for senior counselor.
At a Capitol Hill news conference, a reporter read a list of offensive statements by Bannon, the far-right media mogul whose Breitbart site has pushed a nationalist agenda. McCarthy said the president-elect always gets to pick his team.
The California Republican said “the president has a right to select who he thinks is best.”
In anticipation of Trump as president next year, McCarthy also said he and House GOP committee chairs were sending letters to government agencies telling them to stop issuing any new regulations.
The bishops’ call came on the first day of their annual plenary assembly in Baltimore, Maryland, when they are also expected to elect new leadership, including a new president and vice president, for the conference.
Although Trump captured a majority of the Catholic vote overall in the Nov. 6 election, that result reflected a sharp divide between white Catholics, who broke for Trump, and Latino Catholics, who voted in strong numbers for Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton.
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, president of the bishops’ conference, also noted the importance of conscience rights for people who do not want to recognize same-sex marriage or comply with other laws they consider immoral.
Dozens of dioceses and Catholic charities have sued President Barack Obama over the Affordable Care Act requirement that employers provide coverage for birth control.
Kurtz said, “Don’t allow government to define what integrity of faith means.”