I would like to suggest four actions to promote justice at the border. I make these suggestions as a Christian leader, not as one who wants to get involved in the political process.
I begin with a quote from a homily given on July 8, 2019 given by Pope Francis at a Mass during his visit to the island of Lampedusa in honor of the thousands of migrants who had lost their lives attempting to cross the Mediterranean.
"Migrants are persons... They are the symbol of all those rejected by today's globalized society... The weakest and most vulnerable must be helped... This is a tremendous responsibility, from which no one is exempt if we wish to fulfill the mission of salvation and liberation, in which the Lord himself has called us to cooperate."
The following suggestions are made by the US Catholic Conference of Bishops Justice for Immigrants to be in solidarity with people seeking refuge, safety and security in the United States.
- Call and Take Action today to Oppose Inhumane Detention Conditions for Immigrants and Widespread Enforcement Actions. Recent reports have documented the inhumane and unsanitary conditions in which immigrants arriving to our southern border, including children and families, are being held in by the Department of Homeland Security. It has continued to separate families at the border and threaten widespread immigration enforcement actions, which strike fear into our parishes and communities. Catholic social tradition teaches us that every person deserves equality and respect. It also teaches us that family is sacred and the cornerstone of society. For these reasons, USCCB's Committee on Migration has voiced its strong opposition to the conditions noting: "Recent reports of overcrowded and unsanitary conditions are appalling and unacceptable.” People you should call include the White House (202) 456-1111, your Representative 202-225-3121 and your Senator 202-224-3121.
- Volunteer or Give. Support asylum-seeking families who have fled their home countries and are arriving daily. Several Catholic Charities agencies serve as reception and hospitality centers along the border and provide for the immediate needs of released families and assist them with making travel arrangements to their final destinations. Contact Marcus Ebenhoe, Director of Advocacy and Parish Social Ministry, Catholic Family Center, [email protected], (585) 546-7220 x6202.
- Foster an Unaccompanied Child. USCCB/MRS currently provides foster care to unaccompanied immigrant children. You can find a list of locations at www.usccb.org/fostercare. If interested in becoming a foster parent you would need to follow state and agency guidelines for training and licensing. If interested contact [email protected] or Catholic Family Center for more information.
- Pray. Most important of all prayer opens our hearts to the Holy Spirit and strengthens us to carry out God's work with compassion, devotion, and love. See the USCCB Prayer for Migrant Families below.
Let us continue to pray for peace in our world!
In peace and courage,
Prayer for Migrants and Refugees
Lord Jesus, when you multiplied the loaves and fishes, you provided more than food for the body, you offered us the gift of yourself, the gift which satisfies every hunger and quenches every thirst! Your disciples were filled with fear and doubt, but you poured out your love and compassion on the migrant crowd, welcoming them as brothers and sisters.
Lord Jesus, today you call us to welcome the members of God's family who come to our land to escape oppression, poverty, persecution, violence, and war. Like your disciples, we too are filled with fear and doubt and even suspicion. We build barriers in our hearts and in our minds.
Lord Jesus, help us by your grace,
- To banish fear from our hearts, that we may embrace each of your children as our own brother and sister;
- To welcome migrants and refugees with joy and generosity, while responding to their many needs;
- To realize that you call all people to your holy mountain to learn the ways of peace and justice;
- To share of our abundance as you spread a banquet before us;
- To give witness to your love for all people, as we celebrate the many gifts they bring.
We praise you and give you thanks for the family you have called together from so many people. We see in this human family a reflection of the divine unity of the one Most Holy Trinity in whom we make our prayer: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.