"The whole story of the Hebrew Scriptures is the story of a people that has been exiled and persecuted," Capizzi told CNA. The Israelites are wandering, stateless and homeless, and yet they understand that they are called by God to "welcome those who are strangers among them." Scripture calls everyone, even those who are themselves migrants, to welcome the vulnerable, he said.
The U.S. bishops for years have called for comprehensive immigration reform. They have recognized the importance of national security and border protection, but have also stressed the human rights and dignity of immigrants, the need to address root causes of migration, and the importance of family unity.
Earlier this week, on June 11, Sessions released a ruling stating that domestic abuse and gang violence claims alone should not be considered grounds for asylum claims. This decision also drew strong criticism from the bishops.
"At its core, asylum is an instrument to preserve the right to life. The Attorney General's recent decision elicits deep concern because it potentially strips asylum from many women who lack adequate protection," said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston-Galveston, president of the U.S. bishops' conference, in a statement on June 13.
The cardinal also condemned family separation at the U.S.-Mexico border.
"Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma...Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral."