Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat stated that she would have founded the Society of the Sacred Heart for the “sake of a single child.” This commitment is at the heart of our mission. Committed to the well-being and safety of all children, the United States – Canada Province strongly opposes the separation and detainment of children seeking asylum with their families at the United States Southern border and the inhumane conditions under which they are being held. The current government policies terrorize and traumatize children, and must be stopped.
The need for immigration reform does not give our government permission to violate the dignity and basic human rights of children, and we cannot remain silent while this is being done. The recent proposed increase in deportations, which would increase the number of families separated, cannot be tolerated by people of conscience. In addition, children caring for children in deplorable conditions in detention centers cannot be tolerated by people of conscience.
We join with all people of conscience, women and men’s religious congregations, and the USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) in opposition to the current policies perpetuating the humanitarian crisis at the border and in the call for our leaders to engage in immediate bipartisan reform of our immigration laws and policies, especially those concerning families and children.
While the bill passed by Congress funding humanitarian relief at the border is a much needed first step, it does not address the immigration laws and current policies that are creating the crisis.
Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez and Bishop Joe S. Vasquez, summarized our call for action in the June 30 edition of the “The Hill”:
“One of God’s greatest commandment is to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.’ Following this commandment, we must remain a country that provides refuge for children and families fleeing violence and persecution or we have lost our core values as a nation. Perhaps the memory of our turning away of asylum seekers on the S.S. St. Louis and the image of Angie and Oscar’s lifeless bodies, face down on the river bank, will motivate Congress and the administration to work together to reach a rapid and just solution to this crisis that does not involve eviscerating U.S. refugee and asylum law.”
Take action by:
- Calling on local leaders to
- oppose the humanitarian crisis with children and families at the border
- stop ICE raiding our communities and separating families
- engage in bipartisan immigration reform.
- Calling congressional offices directly or through the switchboard. If you do not have the direct number, you can reach U.S. representatives by calling 202-225-3121, and U.S. senators by calling 202-224-3121. Ask the operator to connect you to the individual office.
- Participating in your local Lights for Liberty candlelight vigil on Friday, July 12.
- Joining other social groups and churches who are planning protests and vigils.
- Donating food, clothing, supplies and money to one of the following organizations or the organization of your choice:
- ARISE, McAllen, Texas. ARISE is in need of donations and supplies to support the extensive work they do at and around the entry points and detention centers. The Stuart Center has a close relationship with ARISE and strongly supports its work with immigrants. Contact Lourdes Flores, executive director of ARISE.
- Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley. CCRGV is in constant need of material (money) support so they can provide soap, food, clothing and help with bus tickets that those released from ICE detention need. Sister Norma Pimental is the executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.
- Annunciation House in El Paso does similar work as Catholic Charities.
- Educating ourselves and others on the history and underlying issues regarding border security, legal asylum, immigration reform and global migration, especially as it affects those who are trying to enter our country.
- “As a nation we must honor the humanity and basic needs of migrants,” by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez and Bishop Joe S. Vasquez
- Ignatian Solidarity Network website includes an overview of the current problem, history of immigration and migration, and stories from immigration and those migrating.
- Franciscan Action Network website includes resources for educating ourselves and acting in light of Catholic Social Teaching.
- Pope Francis' Video Ahead of World Day of Migrants and Refugees
- Society of the Sacred Heart United States – Canada Province statement on immigration
- The USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) statements and resources on immigration and migration
If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Meg Causey, RSCJ, Ph.D., director of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.