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Bishops across U.S. condemn separation, detention of migrant children

Archbishop Carlson, Cardinal DiNardo among those calling separation of children 'inhumane and morally unacceptable'

“Today, I join my brother bishops in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in condemning the use of family separation at the U.S./Mexico border as an implementation of the administration’s zero tolerance policy. Along with my brother bishops, I understand the need to have secure borders and to ensure that our country remains safe. But, to forcibly separate children from their parents is inhumane, morally unacceptable, and ineffective to the goal of deterrence and safety.

As bishop and pastor to our immigrant community and local Church, I know that parents will do what is best for their children and family, especially in difficult circumstances. Indeed, our Catholic faith and principles teach us to do everything we can to keep our families together, healthy and safe. Our pastoral accompaniment with the immigrant community has taught us to recognize the root causes of migration, especially those associated with state-sanctioned violence, gang recruitment, poverty, and lack of educational opportunities. We know from our pastoral care and services with the immigrant community that unless governmental policies address these root causes of migration and work to repair our broken immigration system not much will be gained.

As faithful citizens and members of the Catholic community, we respect the rule of law and its commitment to fair treatment and due process; however, this current tactic being used against our immigrant families is contrary to our Christian principle of respect for the inherent dignity of people and the social responsibility to work for the common good. Furthermore, any policy or strategy that callously commodifies our children falls short of our American ideals and values. As a nation of immigrants, we have a long tradition of welcoming the stranger and the poor and the needy into our way of life. As a people of faith, we remain committed to our Gospel values that speak of compassion and solidarity (Matthew 25:31-46).

In our shared commitment to the common good, I ask the Catholics of this archdiocese and people of good will to write to the President, the Attorney General and members of Congress, to insist that this enforcement practice of separating families come to an end. In particular, I want to ask the Catholic community to pray for the families and their children affected by this enforcement policy, and to remain faithful to our Catholic commitment to welcome and serve our immigrant and refugee communities with the best of our resources.”

June 19, 2018

— Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis

“Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma. Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together. While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety. Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral.”

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and president, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

“What is at stake is the fundamental question of being Christian today, of being a person of faith today in our country and on the continent that is suffering an hour of Christ’s passion. In this darkness, we are hungry for the real God.”

Most Rev. Mark J. Seitz, Bishop of El Paso in a statement

“Refugee children belong to their parents, not to the government or other institution. To steal children from their parents is a grave sin, immoral (and) evil. Their lives have already been extremely difficult. Why do we (U.S.) torture them even more, treating them as criminals? Pray!”

San Antonio’s Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller on Twiter

“The systematic separation of immigrant parents and children at the border is simply cruel. A nation has a right to secure its sovereign border, but that does not mean that it may use any means available to deter immigrants who seek to ask for asylum.

“By jailing parents on what is usually a misdemeanor charge, parents who cross the border with their children are being separated from them. Thus, the government itself is creating the children’s status as ‘unaccompanied.’ Lawyers and public defenders tell me that parents are not being told where their crying children are being taken.

“This nation, for the sake of its soul, must learn to weep with these children, and all the children who are being instrumentalized and commodified in our midst. I urge the Catholic faithful of the Diocese of Brownsville, and all persons of good will to write to the President, the Attorney General and members of Congress, to insist that this manner of enforcement come to an end. I also ask that we as a community pray for families and children affected by this enforcement policy, and that our country’s laws be crafted and administered with human compassion.”

Bishop Daniel E. Flores of the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas in a statement

“Certainly it’s never good to deliberately separate children, especially small children, from their parents unless there’s some danger to the children. A solution to the situation has to be found, which avoids this practice of separating small children from their parents, that’s clear.”

Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, via EWTN News Nightly

“While the U.S. has a right to protect its borders, it has a moral obligation to do so through means that preserve families and the dignity and sanctity of all life. Refusing asylum to women escaping from domestic violence and separating children from their parents is an unnecessary and aggressive act against human life, and unfathomable from a country with a heart as strong as ours.”

Oscar Solis, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, in a statement

“These children and their parents are often fleeing violence and our country should not add to the inhumanity of their situation. While we understand a desire to protect our borders, we call on all lawmakers to urgently seek an end to this immoral policy and pursue solutions that support family cohesiveness.”

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila & Bishop Jorge Rodríguez

Bishops across US condemn separation detention of migrant children 931

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