Call to Action: Tell DHS Not to Separate Families
“Forcibly separating children
from their mothers and fathers
is ineffective to the goals of deterrence and safety
and contrary to our Catholic values.”
Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration
In April Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a zero-tolerance policy for unauthorized border crossings. This has led to the separation of families as parents crossing the border with their families are taken into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service, and then their children are deemed to be “alien unaccompanied minors” and placed in the care of the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services.
Between May 6 to May 19 alone, 638 adults crossing the border were referred for prosecution, separating them from the 658 children who were migrating with them.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is calling for an end to this tearing apart of families for several reasons, including:
- “Separating families at the border will be incredibly costly… Currently, if an individual is not referred for prosecution or detained, the families of those arriving and charitable groups provide assistance.”
With the policy change, taxpayers will be paying hundreds of dollars per day for each family detained. In contrast, Alternative to Detention (ATD) programs are much more cost-effective; “ATD programs … can cost as little as $5 per person per day and are extremely effective in ensuring compliance with immigration proceedings and orders.”
- Placing adults and children in separate immigration proceedings increases the immigration court backlog, already at over 692,000 cases, and makes it harder for these families to present evidence of the persecution that threatens their lives in their home countries.
- Most importantly, “children are vulnerable and should not be separated from their parents. Family unity is a cornerstone of our American immigration system and a foundational element of Catholic teaching.”
The trauma of this forced separation on the parents and most especially on the children can cause lifelong psychological damage. People fleeing horrific violence in their own countries have suffered more than most of us can imagine. They have a right to apply for asylum no matter how they enter the United States. It is unconscionable that our government exacerbates their grief by tearing children from their fathers and mothers.
Use the link below to CALL ON CONGRESS to
(1) Tell the Department of Homeland Security Not to Separate Families
(2) Prevent DHS from Receiving Funding for This Harmful and Costly Practice
(3) Propose More Humane Solutions, Such As Alternatives to Detention.
Deputy Director/Justice & Peace Ministry Coordinator, CCTT