Bishop Kevin Vann: Most who come to border pose no threat

"They bring resilience and resources which they can and will share with us," says bishop of Orange diocese

A woman waits for her number to seek asylum in the United States at the Chaparral Border Crossing in Tijuana, Mexico. (CNS photo/Shannon Stapleton, Reuters)

It is being said that our country is full and can no longer accept migrants fleeing from their countries. 

My faith and U.S. law says that is wrong. In addition to my duties as bishop of the Diocese of Orange, I am also chairman of the board directors of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., known as CLINIC. Our mission embraces the Gospel value of welcoming the stranger. We promote the dignity and protect the rights of migrants in partnership with a dedicated network of Catholic and community legal immigration programs across this great country. 

Our faith tells us that there is room at our table. Our laws say the same. As one of many democracies around this world to learn the importance of respecting refugees after the horrors of World War II, we are a signatory of the U.N. Refugee Convention. We also have implemented the convention in our laws. 

Those laws command us to receive those who arrive at our borders after fleeing persecution and to process their claims. There is no need to detain them while this process moves forward unless they represent a danger to the United States. 

Orange County is home to 100,000 Catholics of Vietnamese ancestry. They represent some of the 1.6 million refugees from Vietnam our nation welcomed between 1975 and 1997. I can’t imagine this part of Southern California without them. The contributions of Vietnamese immigrants to the culture, economy, faith life and vibrancy of this region can’t even be quantified. 

The overwhelming majority of our brothers and sisters who come to our border pose no threat. In fact, they bring resilience and resources which they can and will share with us. 

Economists, demographers, farmers and business leaders have all weighed in with data showing this country is far from “full” and that our nation in fact needs more immigrants. The president, in this year’s State of the Union address, said, “Legal immigrants enrich our nation and strengthen our society in countless ways. I want people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally.” 

The people who come to our border and seek asylum are doing just that, following the legal process to be admitted to a country they hope will protect them from the dangers they face at home. 

Full story at OC Catholic.


  1. Threats come in various forms, Excellency; and they are not necessarily violent criminals. The threat is more insidious and can spread sickness, destruction and death:

    They bring disease! If left unvetted, it surely will spread!

    • Sal Manella says

      There is nothing wrong with protecting United States citizens (natural born or naturalized) and legal resodent aliens from pestilence.

  2. They might not pose a threat individually, but when millions of people come into a country, they threaten the cultural and financial stability of that nation. Our generosity has been exploited and now that we are crying foul, we are called racist, etc. No, we live in a nation of laws and when the first thing immigrants do is disrespect our laws, we are right to say enough!

  3. Because Congress left Vietnam hanging on the vine when we hurriedly left, it resulted in 1 million people being sent to re-education camps (where 185,000 died), 65,000 who were executed outside of the camps, 2 million refugees fled (and 250,000 died on the ocean) trying to escape the communist regime.
    Now Congress is once again ignoring their responsibility to those who came here legally and to all Americans.
    BTW Excellency, when was the last time you counseled the members of Congress in your own diocese who continue to ignore the Magisterium?

  4. More logically disconnected and incoherent, disingenuous, pap from our supposed “teachers” and “sheperds of souls.” This statement doesn’t even pass the laugh test.

    Bishop Vann, you’re better than that and if you actually believe this klap trap, you have no business sheperding a flock, you simply are insulting our collective intelligence here, Your Excellency!!

  5. Anonymous says

    Yes, they do pose a threat. Those of us in border states are buckling under the financial burden of housing, feeding, educating, and providing medical care for those illegally crossing into our country. Illegal are taking advantage of us and have for decades. There is nothing wrong with minding your borders, not allowing anyone who wishes to come and live here do so, and insisting that others respect and obey our laws.

  6. Funny, I visited the Sistine Chapel exhibit at Christ Cathedral just yesterday. Not only did they charge for admission, there was a huge fence surrounding the new Cathedral…. Perhaps the good Bishop should practice what he preaches.

  7. Stephanie says

    This bishop is delusional. We need people in this country to be able to afford to have children. That’s the problem. And as for the migrants being no threat, this is false. Every single one of them is on welfare for a couple of years to many years, food stamps, free medical care which I have to pay for, free schooling and subsidized housing. They are breaking the budget. I’ve had it and I’ve had it with people telling me I’m a racist or xenophobe for thinking as such. We have thousands of people living on the streets. Where will the migrants go? And don’t even start talking about the diseases that are coming over the border.

  8. Anonymous says

    They are abusing the legal process, making false claims for asylum, not respecting the legal process. Bishops like Vann think money grows on trees. They think immigration without assimilation poses no threat. They think a culture/society can absorb unlimited foreigners without fundamentally declining in core measures of identity and cohesion. Let’s see him open the doors of his new cathedral to house refugees. After all, there’s always room at the table according to him.

  9. Anonymous says

    Note to Bishop Vann… when people lie about seeking asylum to take advantage of U.S. laws, they are not acting legally. THey are not acting morally. Fortunately our president isn’t so naïve as the American bishops.

  10. Elizabeth T. says

    Pose no threat! How do you know as there are no way of ‘vetting’ the people.

    And now other groups are coming from India, China….you name it.

    We are going to be/are the TIRED AND POOR, we just can’t absorb so many people and think about all the people who are going through the process the legal way! Not fair. If they were truly refugees like coming from an area where Christians are being murdered daily BECAUSE OF RELIGION, that is a whole different story, but that is not the case! They are coming because of the great economy we are having due to the President!!! They need to stay in their own country and build their country up and fight, like our forefathers did when you had the Revolutionary War against England..

  11. Cross the border, Bishop Vann, with your priests. Get into the camps and teach the faith in Jesus Christ and His Holy Eucharist for salvation and eternal life. Work with the clergy of Mexico for the evangelization of these people. This duty is your prime mandate by Jesus beyond advocacy for immigration for all. Also, give your church’s money rather than take government money to help these families when they do cross for resettlement. From my experience in Honduras 2003-2006, most were unchurched, which is why I went there. Integrate them into Christ where they are in Mexico before demanding their admission to the U.S. and dependency on the backs of other people.

  12. Margaret says

    How many immigrants is Bishop Vann going to host at his house?

  13. Anonymous says

    False analogy: just because accepting Vietnamese immigrants, who were legitimate refugees, by the way, not the fake refugees coming across the southern border these days, just because accepting the Vietnamese was the right thing to do doesn’t mean accepting all immigrants is the right thing to do. Especially not if they lie, skip court hearings, disappear into a shadow, underground society, and milk welfare for benefits.

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