BY ISN STAFF | January 11, 2018

Bishop Joseph Vásquez, of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration issued a statement calling for the President and Congressional leaders to create a border solution and end the government shut-down.  

Bishop Vasquez’s statement:

“Secure borders and humane treatment of those fleeing persecution and seeking a better life are not mutually exclusive. The United States can ensure both and must do so without instilling fear or sowing hatred. We will continue to advocate for immigration reform to advance the common good and address these issues.

Pope Francis states that migrants are not statistics, but persons with feelings that need ongoing protection. From our work serving immigrant and refugees along the U.S./Mexico border, in the interior of the United States and throughout the world, we know this to be true. We urge lawmakers to look beyond rhetoric and remember the human dignity that God our Father has given each of us simply because we are all His children.

The President and Congressional leaders need to come together and end the shutdown with a solution that recognizes the dignity of work of affected employees, respects the humanity of all regardless of immigration status, and protects the sanctity of human life.”

Other Catholic leaders on the border also offered insights on President Trump’s recent comments. “Our nation is great enough to provide security for our citizens and also the refuge they so desperately need,” said Bishop Mark Seitz of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, Texas.

“President Trump is playing politics with the border,” said Dylan Corbett, Executive Director of the Hope Border Institute, also in El Paso. “Those of us who live, work and raise families [on the border] won’t be used as pawns for his cruelty. Our border is a community, not a war zone. Tearing families apart and turning our backs on legal asylum seekers fleeing violence demeans human dignity and undermines the rule of law.”

“As a priest who has worked for years on the U.S.-Mexico border, I serve families who migrate north to seek a more dignified way of life, to be reunited with family members in the U.S. and to find safety from life-threatening violence,” said Fr. Sean Carroll Executive Director of the Kino Border Initiative, a ministry co-sponsored by the Jesuits in Nogales, Arizona. “That’s what God calls me to do. Building a border wall would not do anything to address these fundamental reasons that courageous people make the difficult journey to seek a better life. Economic development, visa reform and targeted investment in proven anti-violence programs will address these root causes while respecting migrants’ God-given human dignity.”

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