California bishop praises President Trump’s travel ban

Bishop Bawai Soro of St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Church in El Cajon writes column defending administration's travel ban, says "radical Islamic terrorism is the clear and present danger facing America"

Bishop Bawai Soro in St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Church in El Cajon. He says that President Trump has no one to apologize to for his immigration doctrine because coming to America is not a right but a privilege. (Hayne Palmour IV / San Diego Union-Tribune)

The following is by Bishop Bawai Soro. Soro is a bishop with St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Church in El Cajon.

Critics have objected to President Trump’s executive order to temporarily ban travel to the U.S. by refugees from seven Middle Eastern countries, alleging 1) their human rights are compromised, and 2) this ban is a Muslim ban.

As an Iraqi-American, I would like to comment on both allegations through my own experience of coming to America as a refugee more than four decades ago. But first let me mention some facts.

The United States of America is a sovereign country and the world’s superpower. The events of Sept. 11, 2001, illustrated how radical Islamic terrorism is the clear and present danger facing America.

Mr. Trump has no one to apologize to for his immigration doctrine for the simple reason that coming to America is not a right but a privilege, a privilege that is earned by waiting in line for however long it may take to reach America. Americans are therefore consoled by his position that the fundamental duty of the government is protecting Americans from all enemies foreign or domestic by maximally securing the homeland’s borders and, if necessary, also by extremely vetting certain individuals.

In 1973, I left Iraq for Lebanon ultimately wanting to seek political asylum in the U.S., as Saddam Hussein was rising to power in Iraq. While in Lebanon, the Civil War started and tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians got stuck for years, enduring unemployment, poverty and dangers of war. Yet most refugees were thankful to stay in Lebanon while tolerating such conditions for the purpose of reaching America. Most of us waited not for three months but for three years; I know a family who waited 15 years.

Ultimately it all paid off when in 1976 the U.S. resettled these Iraqi refugees in the land of the free and home of the brave.

Being delayed as a refugee is not a new thing. All the previous administrations, since President Carter, delayed numerous refugees and migrants not only for months but also for years. If Americans really believed that coming to America was a universal human right, I assure you that by now the U.S. population might have reached 3 billion, instead of only 325 million.

Lady Liberty has stood tall for decades both representing American values and welcoming immigrants and refugees to America. But, if America is to accomplish her historic vocation by offering her values to newcomers, she must first herself be safe, prosperous and stable. No nation can offer its citizens that which she does not possess.

If America needs to build a wall and vet refugees, then it must be so. If a simple house is to be secured, doesn’t the owner of the house lock the doors at night? What happens if thieves know the door is unlocked? Open borders and easygoing immigration policies are what could inflict the U.S. with the fire that has been burning in the Middle East for centuries. American politicians cannot play with such fire because the losers will be the American people everywhere. Even Bashar Assad, the president of Syria, said recently that there definitely are terrorists who sneak into asylum countries from Syria pretending to be refugees. Securing the U.S. border and vetting refugees brings no damage to Americans in any sense of the word. Today’s Europe is a good lesson to America.

This executive order is applied to refugees coming from those seven countries, whether Muslim, Christian or Jew. This is not a Muslim ban; especially because 90 percent of the world’s Muslims are not included.

If the experience of terrorism on 9/11 was caused by Chinese people, the ban would have been imposed on China; if it were South Americans coming from South America, the ban would have been on South American nations; again, if it were Africans coming from Africa, the ban would have been on African countries. But it is an established fact that since the mid-1990s almost all terrorists were radical Muslim jihadists from the Middle East. More importantly, the seven countries are nations presently undergoing internal wars and have lost bureaucratic control of their populations rendering American consulates unable to check the background of refugees, verify and properly vet every claim made to come to America; jihadists cannot be slipping in our land.

In caring for America’s safety, I am not against refugees, since I was one myself. Being prudent about security and caring for human rights are not mutually exclusive. America shall remain the land of the free and home of the brave, as long as she is secure and safe.

From San Diego Union-Tribune.


  1. Memo to MacElroy, this is how you Bishop!

  2. I’d like to go one step further than Anonymous. I’d like to invite Bishops McElroy and Soto to dinner at a restaurant of their choice, just so i could listen to the conversation. I would promise not to say a word, beyond offering each of them a Martini.

    • Better yet, let Bishop MacElroy take the responsibility of Bishop Soro’s former diocese. If it’s still occupied by ISIS, then I sure Bishop MacElroy will have the courage to defy them just as he defies American laws. Otherwise he would be a hypocrite.

  3. Thank you, Bishop Bawai Soro for your logical sound Catholic leadership! You are a beacon, a refreshing lighthouse, in a swirling sea of cowardice, compromise, ambiguity and confusion.

    Pray the rosary! It is the powerful weapon that changes the course of the battle!

    Hermit of Loreto’s 1980s Premonition about President Trump by Fr Richard Heilman


    • Have no doubt! Our Lady is at work! Leading souls to her Son! See the crystal clear pearls of evidence in the link below! Also, Melania Trump’s recent example of reciting the Our Father, demonstrated more leadership, wisdom, courage and uniting charity than many of our lead shepherds.

      “The bride wore a $100,000 Christian Dior white gown with more than 1,500 hand-stitched crystal rhinestones and pearls. The dress had a 13-foot train, a 16-foot veil and took more than 1,000 hours to make. In place of a bouquet, she carried rosary beads that were a family heirloom.”

      • I am no supporter of the Trumps. Take a look at her modeling days photos on Google. Yet, our former First Lady Michelle Obama was insulted, criticized, for wearing a sleeveless dress, showing her athletic arms ! Hypocrites !

        • Ann Malley says:

          …what is hypocritical is pretending there can be no amendment of life. Our former First Lady, thank heavens, is no longer in office where she sought to do little but exacerbate divisions and foment change for the sake of change. Comments on sleeveless dresses were geared more toward fashion advice. Not all women appear at their best in a sleeveless gown – especially when their workout regimen leaves them looking quite masculine. Sorry.

      • Your Fellow Catholic says:

        Is the Hermit of Loreto’s vision also Church Approved?

        • Ann Malley says:

          …it’s interesting either way. And Trump is in the White House. Just like right now, there “is” division within the RCC, cardinal against cardinal, bishop against bishop.

          • Your Fellow Catholic says:

            …Republican against Republican

          • Ann Malley says:

            There are sell out Republicans just like there are sellout Cardinals and Bishops. Absolutely. That’s why Trump is POTUS. A good reason to find the Loreto prediction intriguing even though it’s not Church approved. Reading the signs of the times is a direct order from the Boss, after all ;^)

  4. This is one of the most sensible articles I have read on immigration in a long time. A nation must bring in the better educated, right along with the poor, or that nation will not thrive, and limits must be set, or the citizens already here will suffer the loss of good jobs. We must also choose people who have common values, or our citizenry will be constantly at war with one another. Example: we cannot have polygamy and monogamy at the same time.

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      I agree with your basic point Anne T. that we need to bring in educated workers. That is why Silicon Valley is begging the President to understand the complexity of immigration. Yet it is a shame that educated immigrants, here legitimately for work or study, are being harassed, detained, and denied access. Many are basically saying, “ya know what, I’m over this. I’ll go to Vancouver instead” (or London, etc)

      • Let them go.

        I work in the telecommunication field in a highly skilled technical vocation. Foreign workers are brought in to supplant US workers. I see this all the time. Lay off the US worker and 9 mos later, new ones are brought in from the Mexico facility.
        And, new staffing occurs at off shore facilities rather than the US office.

        It’s only about $$$.

        Let them go. I’ll be more likely to keep my job for a few more years.

      • YFC, although we do need some immigrant workers, I have read and heard complaints that some Americans trained foreign workers only to have their very own jobs replaced by those same workers because it was cheaper. Many American workers have had to take early retirement lest they lose their benefits. In other words they were give the choice to take early retirement with healthcare and pension or stay on and take the chance of losing it all. Those who retired early were replaced by younger workers who were often from other countries. When this country had tariffs, quite frankly, things were better for small business and the workers.

        • Your Fellow Catholic says:

          Well, now you are talking tariffs, a whole different question. If you want tariffs, expect poorer quality products and higher prices. Same is true if you deport millions of workers. And if you don’t import highly educated talent, they will create fantastic products in other countries, and create more competition for American products, especially between countries that don’t have tariffs. The reality is that products move around the world very cheaply via container ship, and a Harley made in America would have a tough time competing in Mexico against a Kawasaki if there is a tariff imposed on the US bike.

          • YFC, wrong! I still have the cast iron frying pans and stainless steel pots and pans that I bought decades ago that were made right here in the United States. I still have the same ironing board that I bought decades ago that was been made over here. When I go and look at the newer ones, they are no better constructed, and often cheaply made, so I just buy a new pad or make one myself. Yes there are new things in my house, but some American made things are well worth keeping for decades because of their construction. Also, the American-made cotton blouses are/were much better than that cheap thin garbage that clings to every part of the body that is used for women’s clothing now and made in other countries.

          • Your Fellow Catholic says:

            Anne T., you present worthy examples, but not compelling evidence. For example, I’m not sure what brands you are buying, but those clingy women’s clothing made (probably in Vietnam), aren’t designed and made according to foreign specifications. They were designed by an American designer to American specifications, with lycra/spandex precisely so that they would cling. And while you could have bought that same blouse if it were made in, say, Modesto, you bought the exact same garment cheaper because it was made in Viet Nam instead. Your issue seems to be with the designer/producer, not with the people who made it.

      • Ann Malley says:

        ….then let’s seek to uplift and educate our own population first, YFC.

        • Your Fellow Catholic says:

          Ann Malley, it’s not either/or. It’s both.

          • Ann Malley says:

            Your Fellow Catholic, it is either/or when Americans need jobs. Deal with it. Time to focus on educating our own, not just indoctrinating them to feel guilty for being born in the United States while they languish in ineptitude.

          • YFC, the thin clinging blouses are sold all over the place: Macys, Kohls, Penneys, Ross’s and every other place. Many of them look beautiful until one puts them on without something else over or under them. They are not only made in Viet Nam but Indonesia and many other places. Even the cotton is thinner now, forcing one to use something over or under them many times. Only the very young and slim look fairly decent in them. I have seen many younger women who look terrible in them, sales clerks and others with all the flab and bulges showing — not a pleasant sight, whereas thicker but cool material makes one look attractive and decent.

          • Sorry, for the graphics, but someone needed to say it. A Macys store clerk told me how the women hate them, but the designers keep making them, probably to sell more of the other garments.

  5. Finally, a modern Bishop with common sense, appreciation by personal experience, and a guardian angel or two! How refreshing!

    More modern V2 bishops should follow his lead!

  6. This article should be sent to every Roman Rite Catholic Bishop in the States for mandatory reading. Copies should also be sent to Pope Francis and his inner circle. Finally, a Catholic Bishop who tells it like it is. Now this is a Bishop who has my full cooperation and admiration.

  7. God bless you Bishop Bishop Soro, and thank you for having the courage to speak the Truth about the situation.

  8. The Bishop/Catholic Charities make about $2500.00 per head on the refugees. So this is a cash flow problem for Bob.
    He was silent when the Catholics were being raped, beheaded, sold into slavery in the Middle East and in Nigeria. Men like Bishop Soro are too kind to call our Diocese out for its failure to save its own people. Or at the VERY least ask that Catholic refugees are allowed in.

    McElroy is a socialist puppet with no intent to teach the faith or save souls.

    Any man that considers poverty on the same level as dismemberment of babies in the womb and harvesting baby body parts while they are alive is not capable of leading a church.

    He should leave and join Soros-his real boss.

  9. Your Fellow Catholic says:

    Here is why the statement of this esteemed Bishop is ridiculous. He says “If the experience of terrorism on 9/11 was caused by Chinese people, the ban would have been imposed on China”.

    Guess what….the 9/11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Arabia is not on the list of countries targeted by Trump’s immigration ban.

    Faulty facts and faulty logic beget faulty conclusions.

    • Well, YFC, would you approve of those from Saudi Arabia being limited or banned also, and our country relying more on its own resources for oil and other sources of running cars, electricity, making plastics. etc.? Oil is used in making a lot of things besides cars. By the way, some plastic manufacturing and estrogen from the birth control pill are getting into our waterways and deforming the fish. One can just google it on line, and many of the websites are not religious ones but just scientific ones, and the birth control link to destroying the environment, besides women’s bodies, is seldom, actually never, brought up by the major media on television.

      • Your Fellow Catholic says:

        Anne T., It is clear that birth country is far less important in fighting terrorism than the fact that radicalization can happen in every country, including our own. Orlando, for example, was carried out by a guy born right here in USA. Should we keep USA citizens out of the USA? Of course not. We should learn what causes radicalization and learn how to prevent it.

        I have no idea how estrogen has anything to do with this conversation.

        • So you think we should bring in more “radical” Muslims and make them citizens when we already have enough problems with radicals here?

          Estrogen has to do with how the major media, many politicians and religious leaders are all about protecting the environment unless it does not fit their agenda. Now the discussion has ended. Good bye.

          • Your Fellow Catholic says:

            Of course I do not think we should bring in “radical” Muslims. Don’t insult me by putting words in my mouth while you ignore all of m other comments.

            Here is what your government did this weekend: The American born son of boxing great Muhammed Ali was detained illegally at the airport for two hours while they interrogated him about his name and his religion. This is illegal. It is a form of psychological terrorism. Shame on the US for putting such an honored US born citizen through all that nonsense for no reason.

  10. The Chaldean Catholics have a real Shepherd, who is intelligent, and with lots of good common sense. The Roman Rite Catholics living in San Diego and Imperial Counties have a false shepherd who is leading the flock away from Christ and His Church and into socialist/communist politics masquerading as the social Gospel. I think that I will begin attending Mass at St. Peter’s Chaldean Catholic Cathedral in El Cajon from now on. If only we Roman Rite Catholics could come up with a way to get rid of McElroy, but I’m afraid that will not happen as his boss, Pope Francis has to be very pleased with his work – the environment ranks on a par with abortion, adulters come to Communion; Perhaps we could disrupt Masses celebrated by McElroy

  11. Your Fellow Catholic says:

    Here’s another fact the good Bishop gets wrong. He assumes we have an open door to people, that there is no vetting and no waiting period. This is a false fact. The vetting process for refugees that was in place before Trump occupied the throne was many steps, well over a dozen, and took about two years before the person ever sets foot into the country.

    Faulty facts plus faulty logic begets faulty conclusions.

    • Ann Malley says:

      ….and here’s another fact the supposed Fellow Catholic is getting wrong. A system of vetting that is not fully engaged or respected by those tasked with conducting it is a huge security risk. (Passive aggressive poor performance or just ignoring the law gets people killed.) Faulty facts and faulty logic comes from the one who attempts to smear his opponent by indicating the White House is a throne.

      Unlike your would-be-king, Obama, this POTUS is busy cleaning house and doing the job of putting US interests first. No guilt trips taken. If you want to indulge in faulty, bleeding heart conclusions, go ahead. But the Chaldean +Bishop has been there and done that in a way you can never – especially with your tired rhetoric – dismiss.

      • Your Fellow Catholic says:

        Ann Malley – if Trump has a better idea on how to vet, I’m sure security services would love to hear . One additional 15 minute interview as people are getting off a plane, conducted by a completely untrained border agent, probably doesn’t qualify.

        The Bishop’s statement was factually wrong. There is a 2 yr waiting period, he said there was none. There is a process, he said there was none. Just because he was a refugee decades ago does’t mean he doesn’t have an obligation to be armed with true facts not alternative facts.

        • Ann Malley says:

          There is a process that needs improving, YFC. That is a fact. This bishop is merely pointing to the history behind making refugees wait. It’s not inhumane. It’s part of the process. And he has first hand experience. You don’t.

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COMMENTS POLICY: Comments are limited to 750 characters and will be truncated at 750. Comments should not contain offensive or libelous language. Please strive to be civil. All comments are subject to approval by our moderator and to editing as the moderator deems appropriate. Inclusion of your email address is optional.