The Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference wish to express their solidarity with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops statement dated November 14, 2018 regarding protection for the children and families from Central America arriving at the U.S./ Mexico border.
Catholic social teaching acknowledges the right of each nation to regulate its borders. Our teaching, however, also compels us to continue to stand ready to accompany and assist all those who flee persecution, regardless of where they are from and where they seek protection.
We are mindful of the problems faced earlier this year at the border and want to ensure that families are safe and remain together. It is our hope that with the current influx of people from Central America seeking asylum our country will strengthen the integrity of the existing immigration system, while assuring access to protection for vulnerable children and families.
As we near the Advent Season, we pray for the safety of all individuals and families who will be traveling, and especially for those vulnerable families who are travelling long distances to flee persecution.
Most Rev. Edward J. Weisenburger
Bishop of Tucson
Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted
Bishop of Phoenix
Most Rev. James S. Wall
Bishop of Gallup
Most Rev. Edwardo A. Nevares
Auxiliary Bishop of Phoenix
Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, Presidents of Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Legal Immigration Network Issued Statement Regarding Their Deep Concern About Restricting Access to Asylum
November 14, 2018
WASHINGTON — Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration, Sister Donna Markham, OP, Ph.D, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, Jeanne Atkinson, Executive Director of Catholic Legal Immigration Network, and Sean Callahan, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services issued an statement reiterating that it is not a crime to seek asylum and urging the Administration to seek other solutions that will strengthen the integrity of the existing immigration system.
On November 9, 2018, President Trump issued a proclamation barring people arriving to the U.S./Mexico border from receiving U.S. asylum unless they request it at a U.S. port of entry, a direct contradiction of existing U.S. asylum law (see here).
The full statement follows:
“While our teaching acknowledges the right of each nation to regulate its borders, we find this action deeply concerning. It will restrict and slow access to protection for hundreds of children and families fleeing violence in Central America, potentially leaving them in unsafe conditions in Mexico or in indefinite detention situations at the U.S./Mexico border. We reiterate that it is not a crime to seek asylum and this right to seek refuge is codified in our laws and in our values. We urge the Administration to seek other solutions that will strengthen the integrity of the existing immigration system, while assuring access to protection for vulnerable children and families. The Catholic Church will continue to serve, accompany and assist all those who flee persecution, regardless of where they seek such protection and where they are from.”