Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend has weighed in on the issue of illegal immigration and separation of families at the southern border.
In a statement released Tuesday, Rhoades called the treatment of immigrants seeking asylum “disturbing,” and said separating children from their parents is “immoral, uncompassionate, and harmful to children.”
Immigration has become a hot-button issue of late as the Trump administration enacts its “zero tolerance” immigration policies that have led to officials separating children from parents accused of crossing the border illegally.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared in Fort Wayne last week to defense the policies.
Here is Rhoades’ full statement:
“Recent developments in our government’s treatment of immigrants seeking safety and security in our country are very disturbing. The unnecessary separation of children from their parents is immoral, uncompassionate, and harmful to children. In addition, I strongly disagree with the Attorney General’s decision not to allow asylum for those seeking protection from domestic or gang violence. Throughout our nation’s history, such protection has saved many lives and demonstrated our nation’s compassion for the vulnerable and persecuted. I encourage all to contact our elected representatives to urge them to enact legislation to end the unjust and inhumane separation of migrant children from their parents, to reopen asylum protection for those fleeing domestic and gang violence, and also to protect the 1.8 million “Dreamers” living in our country.
While the Catholic Church recognizes and respects the right of every nation to regulate its borders, this right must be balanced with the rights of vulnerable migrants to access protection and with the fundamental right of all to life and dignity as human persons; as well as the rights of parents and the family, the cradle of life and love, the first and vital cell of society. I particularly ask the Catholic faithful to remember Jesus, Mary, and Joseph — the Holy Family — who were compelled to leave their land and migrate to Egypt. Let us pray to the Holy Family for migrant families today, compelled to leave their homelands because of violence, extreme poverty, or persecution, who are exposed to grave danger. May the Lord protect them and may the Lord inspire our nation to exercise justice and compassion.”