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ISN Joins Hundreds of Catholic Leaders, Including 70 Arrested in Senate Rotunda While Demanding an End to Detention of Immigrant Children

BY ISN STAFF | July 18, 2019 | en español

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today inside the Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda, 70 Catholic leaders locked arms in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience, in an effort to put pressure on Congress and the presidential administration to end the immoral and inhumane practice of detaining immigrant children.

Catholic Day of Action

Faith leaders engage in non-violent civil disobedience in the Russel Senate Office Buiding Rotunda on July 18, 2019. [Image: Kelsey Herbert via Twitter]

The Catholic Day of Action for Immigrant Children, co-sponsored in part by the Ignatian Solidarity Network and the Jesuit Conference Office of Justice and Ecology, brought together more than 300 Catholic sisters, priests, brothers and lay Catholic advocates representing nearly 20 national organizations, who sang, prayed, and chanted as they demanded an end to the immoral and inhumane practice of detaining immigrant children.

immigrant children death

Participants formed a symbolic cross on the floor of the Rotunda, wearing images of children who have died in U.S. immigration custody in 2018 and 2019. [Image: Mackenzie Harris, Faith in Public Life]

“It was heartening to see the significant presence of the Ignatian network today—the presence of Jesuits and lay leaders, standing up for the inherent dignity of immigrant children,” said Christopher Kerr, Ignatian Solidarity Network executive director. “The images of the children who have died in U.S. immigration custody was a powerful and moving reminder of their lives, and of their moms, dads, and other family members who continue to mourn their loss—moving us to take action on behalf of those seeking asylum at our border.” 

civil disobedience

[Image: Mackenzie Harris, Faith in Public Life]

William Critchley-Menor, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic from the Midwest province, was among those arrested. “We’re here because the treatment [children being detained] are receiving is completely incompatible and contrary to the message of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church,” he said prior to the morning’s prayer service and rally. 

Representatives from numerous Jesuit network organizations and institutions were present, including from ISN, the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States/Office of Justice and Ecology, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, Xavier College Preparatory in Palm Desert, CA, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University, and Saint Joseph’s University

Christopher Kerr, ISN Executive Director reads the words of a 5-year old Honduran child during the rally’s closing prayer service. Over 300 Catholic leaders gathered outside the U.S. Capitol on the morning of July 18 in prayer, solidarity, and action with immigrant children and families. [Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States]

Endorsing Jesuit network organizations and institutions included: Kino Border Initiative, Boston College Center for Human Rights and International Justice, The Center for Undocumented Students at Saint Peter’s University, Marquette University Center for Peacemaking, Fairfield Jesuit Community, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, Jesuit Refugee Service/Canada, Jesuits of the U.S. Central and Southern Province, Immaculate Conception Church – Albuquerque, NM, St. Mary Student Parish – Ann Arbor, MI, Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola University New Orleans, Gesu Parish (Milwaukee, WI), Schlegel Center for Service and Justice at Creighton University, Jesuits of the USA Midwest Province, Detroit Jesuit Community, The Encuentro Project, Joan and Ralph Lane Center for Catholic Social Thought and the Ignatian Tradition at the University of San Francisco, Center for Community Service & Justice at Loyola University Maryland, Jesuits of the Maryland Province, Marquette University Office of Mission & Ministry, Center for the Human Rights of Children at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Marquette University High School, Jesuits of the U.S. West Coast Province , Fairfield University Center for Faith & Public Life, St. Agnes Church (San Francisco, CA), Social Justice Program at Saint Peter’s University, and St. Ignatius Parish (San Francisco, CA), Sacred Heart Parish, (Richomond, VA); and the Masters in Migration Studies at University of San Francisco.

Stand in solidarity with those arrested today and with all immigrant children and families. TAKE ACTION to demand an end to child detention. Learn more.

Watch the recorded livestream from the Russel Senate Office Buiding Rotunda via Faith in Public Life: 

6 replies
  1. Bill Kelly
    Bill Kelly says:

    Bill Kelly: Southern border immigration attempts, asylum seeking, is more a cry for help than a grab for illegal entry. Central American nations suffer from violence attributable in a good part to our ham handed international relations and the historic greed of companies taking what they want and leaving an ecological and social disaster in its wake. The problem cannot be solved at the border -only compassion is needed there. The real solution requires the U. S. to use our diplomatic and economic power to create conditions where Mothers do feel safe raising their children. Past U.S. policy has greatly contributed to this situation. We helped make this mess and should have a full court press to fix it. Lives of asylum seekers and children should not be a be used for political gamesmanship by either party. In the 80’s Jesuits were at the forefront of protesting – seeking Social Justice as 200,000 Guatemalans died and disappeared (nakarajan.blogspot.com/2017/07/guatemalan..) GUATEMALA CITY — A Guatemalan truth commission investigating the country’s vicious 36-year civil war issued a final report Thursday (07/2017) placing the blame for most of the 200,000 deaths on a ”racist” Guatemalan government that received considerable support from the United States. This migration is one consequence of our ham handed fear, greed based policies of the past. So, let’s do the best we can to avoid the pitfalls of the past and fix our past errors as best we can.

  2. Joellen Sbrissa
    Joellen Sbrissa says:

    The event on July 18 was led and sponsored by NETWORK and LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious) and two main speakers which began the march to the Senate Office Building were Simone Campbell, SSS and Carol Zinn, SSJ.

  3. Mary Kay McNulty
    Mary Kay McNulty says:

    What about the “treatment” our kids received at the hands of mostly Jesuits??
    OR, the hundreds of thousands of aborted babies???
    OR, the same treatment of immigrant kids when Obama was in office???
    Where has the “presence of the Ignatius Network” been for any of the above??
    Judgement day IS coming!!!!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] entre otras. En estos días la defensa por los menores migrantes y sus familias ha llevado a que 70 lideres católicos hayan sido arrestados en el Senado pidiendo el cese de las detenciones a menores […]

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