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Catholic and Evangelical Lutheran bishops visited with young mothers and children who have fled violence in their home countries and are now incarcerated at Dilley Detention Center in Dilley, Texas, on March 27. The faith leaders called upon the federal government to halt the practice of family detentions, citing the harmful effects on mothers, children and the moral character of society.
Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio, Texas, whose archdiocese includes Dilley, was joined by Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle, and Bishop James Tamayo of Laredo, Texas. Bishops Michael Rinehart and H. Julian Gordy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America also joined them on the visit. Since last summer, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has detained hundreds of families at detention centers in New Mexico, Texas, and Pennsylvania, under a new family detention policy aimed at families fleeing violence in Central America.
“After this visit, my primary question is: Why? Why do we feel compelled to place in detention such vulnerable individuals –traumatized young mothers with children fleeing persecution in their home countries?” said Archbishop García-Siller following the visit. “A great nation such as ours need not incarcerate the most vulnerable in the name of deterrence. The moral character of a society is judged by how it treats the most vulnerable in our midst. Our nation’s family detention policy is shameful and I implore our elected officials to end it.”
Bishop Elizondo, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, added: “The detention of families serves no purpose and undermines due process. It especially harms children, who experience emotional and psychological harm from detention. The policy is a stain on the administration’s record on immigration.”
Bishop James Tamayo of Laredo, Texas, said humane alternatives to detention exist and should be used for the population.
“The government should consider placing these families in humane alternatives to detention, where they could live in the community and access needed services, including legal representation,” Bishop Tamayo said. “The Church is ready to assist in this effort.”
Information on the USCCB position on family detention can be found on the USCCB website at:
Family Detention: the National and Local Catholic Response October 6th, 2014
Family detentions are increasing in number across the United State. Sign up for a webinar offered by USCCB’s Justice for Immigrants campaign: Learn more about these detentions, get talking points and listen to a clear analysis of the current situation and the human rights issues for immigrant families being detained in immigrant detention facilities. Find out how you can advocate with your local law makers as well as assist immigrant families currently facing detention within your community.
Friday October 10th at 2pm EST
USCCB Infographic to Stop Slavery! July 2nd, 2014
Please watch this new info-graphic from the US Catholic Bishops’ Conference Anti-Trafficking Program, and take action today!
Pentecost Toolkit on Immigration May 13th, 2014
Justice for Immigrants, the immigration campaign of the USCCB, has created a Pentecost toolkit of resources that parishes, Catholic agencies, religious communities and other JFI supporters can begin to use today.
They also have many copies of the booklet, A Catholic Teaching on the Issue of Immigration, which would be useful for Catholic groups and parishes. If you want copies of the booklet(s), or if you have any questions about the Pentecost toolkit, please call The Justice for Immigrants Team, 202-541-3165 or email via their website.
Become a SHEPHERD May 8th, 2014
As Catholics we are called to seek ways that each of us can work with our dioceses and communities to combat human trafficking. This can be done through prayer, education, and responsible consumerism.
Visit www.usccb.org/shepherd to learn more about Becoming a SHEPHERD or email MRSShepherd@usccb.org to request the SHEPHERD toolkit guide – now available in both English and Spanish – to help you educate your parish and community about human trafficking.
If you have already used the SHEPHERD toolkit, please fill out this quick survey from the USCCB campaign! They are looking for your feedback!