Refugees fleeing violence deserve care, bishops emphasize
Bishops hold Mass and procession on US border in support of immigration reform. Credit: John Moore/Getty Images.
Bishops hold Mass and procession on US border in support of immigration reform. Credit: John Moore/Getty Images.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Catholic bishops are highlighting the need to care for refugees fleeing violent situations in their homelands as the ongoing influx of unaccompanied child migrants into the U.S. continues.

Auxiliary bishop Eusebio Elizondo of Seattle, head of the U.S. bishops’ migration committee, discussed the issue in an Aug. 1 column for the Washington Post.

“Let’s not kid ourselves. Subjecting these children to removal without the due process of a formal immigration hearing would no doubt mean that the vast majority would be returned to the gangs and drug cartels that threaten them in Central America,” he said.

“Sadly, Congress and the Obama administration are twisted in knots over a situation that many nations around the world handle as a matter of course,” reflected Bishop Elizondo.

The Seattle bishop pointed out that other countries, such as Lebanon, have received more than 1 million refugees from Syria, a number far outweighing the tens of thousands that arrive in America.  The US, known to be the largest economy in the world, should be able to handle a much smaller population than the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, he said.

“The real issue here is who we are as Americans. As a leader in human rights protection around the world, we often instruct other nations to receive refugees or protect human rights. Yet when child refugees appear on our own border, we struggle to respond in a humane way,” the bishop stated.

While there are legitimate concerns about the long-term effects of the current immigration policy, Bishop Elizondo said, sending children back to violent and war-torn countries without due process cannot be the answer.

“We cannot allow vulnerable children and families, many of whom are facing horrors that most Americans cannot imagine, to be the victims of forces far beyond their control,” he said. “When Congress meets in September, let us hope that it agrees and adopts a humane approach to addressing this crisis.”

The bishop also highlighted the need to address the root causes of immigration, primarily violence in Central America. He suggested that anti-violence initiatives, humane reintegration programs, and investment in youth are necessary to solve these problems, which will in turn ease the border crisis.

“The world is watching and will take note of what we do. Our moral authority is at stake. If we sacrifice these children for political expediency, we may end up sacrificing our soul,” he concluded.  

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York also spoke out on the issue in an August 3 column for the archdiocese.

“Caring for the downtrodden, the outcast, the stranger among us, is part of our call as Catholics,” he stressed.

“Children are fleeing violence and risking their lives with the hope of finding family and shelter here,” he said, and the faithful should be guided by the words of Christ, “Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name, welcomes me.”

Carinal Dolan explained that he has been focused on the vulnerability of refugees and immigrants “because I meet them everywhere I go throughout our archdiocese: men, women, and children so grateful to be in America, so searching to find a home here, so eager to work, settle down, and become part of a nation that has traditionally welcomed and embraced the immigrant.”

He voiced frustration that immigration reform efforts seem to have become entangled in partisan and self-interested politics, while Catholic charities, parishes, professionals, and volunteers do their best to provide for the immediate needs of those at their doors.

“These young people can’t wait for immigration reform,” he said. “As Pope Francis rightly points out, this is a humanitarian emergency, and however they got here, these young people must be cared for now.”

Tags: Immigration, Violence, Refugees, Migrants

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea

Liturgical Calendar

December 18, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Jer 23: 5-8
Gospel:: Mt 1: 18-25

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27