Tearing Families Apart

In light of the recent policy implementation by the Department of Homeland Security regarding children in undocumented families, Most Reverend Joe S. Vasquez (Chariman of the USCCB Committee on Migration) issued the following statement:

“Forcibly separating children from their mothers and fathers is ineffective to the goals of deterrence and safety and contrary to our Catholic values. Family unity is a cornerstone of our American immigration system and a foundational element of Catholic teaching. ‘Children are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward.’ (Psalm 127:3) Children are not instruments of deterrence but a blessing from God.

Rupturing the bond between parent and child causes scientifically-proven trauma that often leads to irreparable emotional scarring. Accordingly, children should always be placed in the least restrictive setting: a safe, family environment, ideally with their own families.

My brother bishops and I understand the need for the security of our borders and country, but separating arriving families at the U.S./Mexico border does not allay security concerns. Children and families will continue to take the enormous risks of migration—including family separation—because the root causes of migration from the Northern Triangle remain: community or state-sanctioned violence, gang recruitment, poverty, and a lack of educational opportunity. Any policies should address these factors first as we seek to repair our broken immigration system.”

The policy needs to be condemned as unjust, anti-family and contrary to our values. Imagine Jesus being stripped from the arms of his mother, Mary, as the Holy Family sought refuge in Egypt.

 

Dine for the Diner

This is an annual fundraiser hosted by St. Joseph Diner, a program of Catholic Services of Acadiana. Local restaurants agree to donate 10% of their proceeds to St. Joseph Diner on Thursday, May 24th. The community is asked to participate by eating at these restaurants. Visit catholicservice.org/dineforthediner to see a list of participating restaurants.

Bishops’ Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, along with Catholic Charities, USA and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, has offered to the U.S. Supreme Court an amicus brief in the case challenging the Muslim Ban, the executive order issued by President Trump.  The entire brief can be read here.  A summary of the brief follows:

SUMMARY OF THE ARGUMENT
The Executive Order has both the purpose and the
effect of discriminating against Muslims. Prior to is-
suing the Executive Order, the President announced
repeatedly his desire to target Muslims for denial of
entry to the United States. And the Executive Order
does just that, singling out the populations of six over-
whelmingly Muslim nations for sweeping immigra-
tion restrictions that apply nowhere else in the world.
Such blatant religious discrimination is repug-
nant to the Catholic faith, core American values, and
the United States Constitution. In particular, it poses
a substantial threat to religious liberty that this Court
has never tolerated before and should not tolerate
now. Having once borne the brunt of severe discrimi-
natory treatment, particularly in the immigration
context, the Catholic Church will not sit silent while
others suffer on account of their religion as well. In
the words of Elie Wiesel, “[t]he opposite of faith is not
heresy, it’s indifference.” Elie Wiesel, One Must Not
Forget, U.S. News & World Report, Oct. 27, 1986.
This Court should strike down the Executive Or-
der as a violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the
First Amendment.

I Lived on Parker Avenue

A Short Documentary Film About Adoption
Adopted at birth and raised in Louisiana, David Scotton is on a journey to Indiana to meet the birth parents he’s never known. His tattooed birth mother, Melissa, and reserved birth father, Brian, anxiously wait for him, concerned David will reject them for decisions they made before he was born. I Lived on Parker Avenue is a short documentary about a mother’s agony in choosing what’s best, the joy of a couple starting a family, and young man’s search for where his life began.

Bishops Respond to Border Troops

Bishop Joe Vásquez, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, today issued the following statement in support of the Southern Border Bishops and in response to the Administration’s recent actions:

“On behalf of the USCCB Committee on Migration, I fully affirm the concerns voiced by the U.S. Bishops of the southern border regarding the presence of the National Guard at the U.S./Mexico border.  Current law entitles those fleeing persecution and arriving in our country to due-process as their claims are reviewed. As the border bishops state: ‘Seeking refuge from persecution and violence in search of a peaceful life for oneself and one’s family is not a crime.’  Our faith calls us to respond with compassion to those who suffer and seek safe haven; we ask our government to do the same as it seeks to safely and humanely secure the border.”

The statement of the eight bishops of diocese on our southwestern border can be read here.

Day for Dreamers

USCCB President, Vice President, and Migration Chair
Announce National Call-in Day for Dreamers for February 26

WASHINGTON—Late last week, the Senate failed to achieve the 60 votes needed to move forward with debate on legislation to provide relief to Dreamers. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, USCCB President; Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, USCCB Vice President; and Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, together issued the following statement:

“We are deeply disappointed that the Senate was not able to come together in a bipartisan manner to secure legislative protection for the Dreamers. With the March 5th deadline looming, we ask once again that Members of Congress show the leadership necessary to find a just and humane solution for these young people, who daily face mounting anxiety and uncertainty.

More here.

Angola Bus Trip

The Office of Justice and Peace will once more be providing transportation to families with relatives incarcerated at Angola. Date is March 18, 2018.  You are advised to reserve your seat early – call 337-261-5545.  More details are available on this flyer.

TPS Termination for El Salvadorans

Statement of Bishop Joe S. Vasquez, Chairman of the Committee on Migration (USCCB) – 2018-01-08
“The decision to terminate TPS for El Salvador is heartbreaking. As detailed in our recent delegation trip report to the region, El Salvador is currently not in a position to adequately handle the return of the roughly 200,000 Salvadoran TPS recipients. Today’s decision will fragment American families, leaving over 192,000 U.S. citizen children of Salvadoran TPS recipients with uncertain futures. Families will be needlessly separated because of this decision.”  More here.

Statement of Sister Donna Markham, President and CEO of Catholic Charities – 2018-01-08
“I am deeply disappointed by the administration’s decision not to renew the Temporary Protected Status for El Salvadorans in this country who, like so many other immigrants and refugees, came here to live a life free of danger and poverty. The decision is devastating not only for the 250,000 Salvadorans who have established themselves in this country as trusted employees, neighbors and members of the community but also for the nearly 200,000 children who are citizens of this country and face either being separated from their families or leaving the only country they have ever known.” More here

Also of note:
Statement of Most Rev. Thomas Wenski – 2010-10-01
The King of Kings, the Migrant of Migrants
“”Xenophobic politics that focus on the “illegal immigrant” as a problem obscures the human face of immigration. Dramatic, “get-tough” arrests of poor low wage workers will not solve our immigration crisis. In fact, such actions often engender more confusion and bitterness. The real problem is not the immigrant but the broken system that cynically tolerates a growing underclass of vulnerable people, outside the protection of the law.  Their labor is needed yet the present immigration regime does not provide them or their employers with the necessary avenues which would allow them to access the system and become legal. No human being should be reduced to being a “problem”.  Such reductive thinking demonizes the “illegal immigrant” and ultimately dehumanizes us all.” More here