U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman Urges Administration to Keep Families Together

June 1, 2018 By Public Affairs Office

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."

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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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