The Columban Centre For Advocacy and Outreach in Washington has issued the following statement in response to the US government separating migrants families and ‘caging’ children at the US/Mexico border. Within days, the outcry forced the US President Donald Trump to sign an order ending the practice. However, the fate of families already separated by the policy is not clear.
Family unity is sacred. Every person has the right to seek safety. These are some of the most basic tenets of Catholic Social Teaching. Separating families at the border and restricting access to asylum stands in direct contradiction to these core values.
These efforts severely limit the ability of vulnerable people coming to the southern border seeking safety to access protection. They go even further by punishing them for doing so. It is not against the law to seek asylum, yet all these policies effectively shut off access to this protection and criminalize those seeking it.
Rev Robert E Mosher, SSC, Director of the Columban Mission Center in El Paso, Texas said:
“Columbans have lived and ministered on the US/Mexico border for over 20 years. We have witnessed the devastating impacts that arbitrary increases in enforcement, including this most recent announcement, have on migrants and border communities. “It is immoral to make families suffer this kind of traumatic separation of children from their parents, especially in order to obtain some imagined purpose that is thought to justify the measure – that is, to send a message of deterrence to others. This will only increase the pain of the separation of families, with violent effects on children as developing human beings. As Catholics and members of border communities, we consider it a blessing and an opportunity to serve and support those coming to the United States seeking safety and stability. We believe our federal policy should reflect the same welcome and respect that border communities themselves show, and abstain from this unethical treatment of human beings, made in the image of our Creator.”
By Wesley Cocozello
Tablet article by Fr Bob Mosher