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Leaders Call for Protection of the Human Dignity of Undocumented Immigrants


November 22, 2016


Sara Benitez, sbenitez@faithinpubliclife.org, 202-280-9284

Mia Young, myoung@faithinpubliclife.org, 202-374-0416

Catholic Leaders Call for Protection of the Human Dignity of Undocumented Immigrants

WASHINGTON, DC. — As the country copes with the shocking results of one of the most vitriolic elections in U.S. history, Catholic leaders and faith communities are standing in solidarity with undocumented immigrants. President-elect Trump promises to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, who he has labeled as criminals. Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump made the country aware of his plans to handle immigration which include building a wall along the United States and Mexico border, as well as implementing a program that would track immigrants traveling to the United States from “high-risk” countries.

It’s deeply concerning that Kris Kobach is playing a role in Trump’s immigration transition team considering his involvement in Arizona SB 1070 also known as “Papers Please”, one of the most controversial and strict anti-illegal immigration measures in the country, requiring all migrants over the age of 14 who remain in the United States for longer than 30 days to register with the U.S. government, and to have registration documents in their possession at all times. For many years the Catholic Church has been advocating for comprehensive immigration reform, and will continue to work with leaders of both parties to ensure that all migrants, regardless of their status, are treated with dignity and respect.

The following faith leaders condemn Trump’s proposed immigration policies, and offer these quotes:

Fr. Timothy Kesicki, SJ, President, Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States:

“Throughout his papacy, Pope Francis has spoken of his commitment to building a society that is  ‘tolerant and inclusive, to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination.’  Like the Holy Father, the Jesuits of Canada and the United States reaffirm our commitment to upholding the dignity and worth of our immigrant brothers and sisters and to standing in solidarity with them.  We are deeply concerned by threats and proposals — such as the increased use of detention and deportation — that do not reflect these values, that sow fear, and that threaten the unity and well-being of families and communities.  Instead, we call on the Trump Administration and Congress to develop and uphold humane policies that honor the dignity and contributions of those among us who live at the margins of society.”  

Fr. Sean Carroll, Executive Director, Kino Border Initiative:

“We reaffirm the God-given dignity of our brother and sister migrants and celebrate that when we welcome them we are welcoming Christ. Therefore we call our new government to respect their rights and dignity, ensure humane treatment and family unity, and particularly protect those fleeing violence.”

Sr. Norma Pimentel, Executive Director, Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley:

“In his address to Congress, Pope Francis called on Catholics and people of good will to listen to the stories of migrants seeking safety and opportunity in our country. Every day at the Sacred Heart Respite Center I embrace children and mothers relieved to have found shelter in our church after fleeing for their lives. I am alarmed and saddened to hear some leaders talk about deporting millions of our brothers and sisters, as though they are not each individual people endowed with human dignity and rights. I’m praying that our leaders will open their hearts to see Jesus in each migrant. ”

Christopher Kerr, Executive Director, Ignatian Solidarity Network:

“Our Christian faith calls us to stand for the dignity of our immigrant brothers and sisters. As we prepare this Christmas season to celebrate the birth of Jesus—the child of parents who were forced to seek refuge in a manger and migrate for their safety—we call on our new government leaders to enact policies that reflect this dignity, particularly for young people, who, like Jesus, had little choice in their migration.”

Monsignor Arturo Bañuelas, Chairman, Hope Border Institute:

“For centuries, the people who live in our US-Mexico border have learned to live in peace and harmony. However, many of us fear that today’s political climate in our country will accelerate a culture of hate, division, and racism. We are especially concerned about the plight of our immigrant brothers and sisters risking their lives to escape violence, hunger, poverty and death. We along the border must make a renewed commitment to be in solidarity with all who struggle daily to survive and all who hunger for justice. We need to turn the tide of injustices into a special time of hope by recommitting ourselves to work even harder to advance racial equality, just economic parity, just immigration reform, foster women’s rights in wage income, fix our criminal justice system, form a more inclusive society, protect our sacred earth, and become vigilant about the most vulnerable in our society.”

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