via Fr. Sean Carroll, SJ:
For me, the teachings of the Catholic Church are as clear as God’s commands to the people of Israel in Hebrew Scriptures: We are called to welcome widows, orphans, the poor and migrants. Sadly, these explicit instructions are as needed today as they were thousands of years ago.
Nativism and xenophobia are resurgent. Those with a reasonable desire for security fall prey to the scaremongering tactics of cynical politicians. The ideals that define not only our faith but also our nation’s character are being set aside in a deeply troubling way….
Coming just a day after the pope’s appeal, the deportation of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos demonstrated the consequences of the administration’s hard-line policy. Guadalupe migrated to the U.S. two decades ago to find a better life as a teenage girl and is now a married mother of two….
On Feb. 8, she was detained at her check-in and deported within 24 hours to her native Mexico. Her family has been abruptly ripped apart….
This cruel and inhumane policy is not necessary. It not only destroys families but it drives others into the shadows, where they are vulnerable to crime and exploitation by unscrupulous employers. Our willingness to defend migrants is a matter of life or death in the most literal sense. Our willingness to protect the institution of the family is critical to the well-being of society.
Over the years we have seen first-hand the suffering that is caused by a broken immigration system caused by political structures and economic conditions that result in threats, deportations, impunity and extreme violence.
We have seen the pain, the fear, and the anguish suffered by the persons who have come to us, who may be facing having to live among us in the periphery of our society. Many have been extorted in their workplace, they have lived under the constant threat of deportation and have suffered the fear of the possible separation from their families and friends.
This reality is made evident as we consider the measures taken by the present administration. We can sense the pain of the separation of families, loss of employment, persecutions, discrimination, racism, and unnecessary deportations that paralyze the development of persons in our societies and the development of our nations leaving them of hope.
Immigration is a global phenomenon that arises from economic and social conditions, and the poverty and insecurity that directly displaces entire populations, causing families to feel that migration is the only way to survive. The migrant has a right to be respected by international law and national law as he/she faces the violence, criminality and inhuman policies of governments as well as the world’s indifference.
Regardless of their migration condition, the human dignity that every person possesses, must be respected in the person of the migrant. They are subjected to punitive laws and often mistreated by civil authorities both in their country of origin, the countries through which they travel, and the country of their destination. It is essential that governments adopt policies that respect the human rights of migrants and undocumented residents.