Catholic Leaders: Seeking Asylum is Not a Crime

Christopher White writes:

As President Donald Trump prepares to send 5,200 troops to Mexican border to block some 4,000 Central American asylum-seekers, Catholic leaders are urging governments to address the underlying causes of migration while reminding people that seeking asylum is not a crime.

A joint statement on Monday from the heads of the major Catholic migration and relief agencies in the United States urged compassion and a commitment to seeking “humane solutions that honor the rule of law and respect the dignity of human life.”

“As Catholic agencies assisting poor and vulnerable migrants in the United States and around the world, we are deeply saddened by the violence, injustice, and deteriorating economic conditions forcing many people to flee their homes in Central America,” wrote Bishop Joe Vásquez, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration; Sean Callahan, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS); and Sister Donna Markham, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA…

“We affirm that seeking asylum is not a crime. We urge all governments to abide by international law and existing domestic laws that protect those seeking safe haven, and to ensure that all those who are returned to their home country are protected and repatriated safely,” they said…

Border Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego concurred, telling Crux “it is impossible to separate the sending of this large contingent of troops to the border, at this supremely political movement, from the torrent of hatred that has been cast upon those who are merely seeking the same dream that led the great majority of our ancestors to these shores.”

“We have the responsibility to control our borders, but in exercising that responsibility we must continually witness to the humanity of those desperately seeking freedom and safety through the caravan,” he warned, “or else we risk losing our own humanity.”