WASHINGTON—The Department of Homeland Security has recently acknowledgedimplementation of the policyof separating families arriving at the U.S./Mexico Border. Most Reverend Joe S.Vásquez, Bishop of Austin and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of CatholicBishops' (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued the following statement inresponse:
"Forcibly separating children from their mothers andfathers is ineffective to the goals of deterrence and safety and contrary toour Catholic values. Family unity is a cornerstone of our American immigrationsystem and a foundational element of Catholic teaching. 'Children are a giftfrom the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward.' (Psalm 127:3) Children are not instruments of deterrence but a blessingfrom God.
Rupturing the bond between parent and child causesscientifically-proven trauma that often leads to irreparable emotionalscarring. Accordingly, children should always be placed in the leastrestrictive setting: a safe, familyenvironment, ideally with their own families.
My brother bishops and I understand the need for thesecurity of our borders and country, but separating arriving families at theU.S./Mexico border does not allay security concerns. Children and families will continue to takethe enormous risks of migration—including family separation—because the rootcauses of migration from the Northern Triangle remain: community orstate-sanctioned violence, gang recruitment, poverty, and a lack of educationalopportunity. Any policies should addressthese factors first as we seek to repair our broken immigration system."
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez,Committee on Migration, MRS, Department of Homeland Security, migrants, migrantchildren, safety, family unity, border security, U.S./Mexico border,
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