WASHINGTON-USCCB– In light of recent enforcement actions conducted by the Department of Homeland Security for the purpose of deporting individuals, primarily mothers with children, the bishops who chair the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network called for an end to such practices. [18 thousand mothers with children are at risk of deportation.]
In a letter sent to Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security, January 11, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Com-mittee on Migration and Bishop Kevin W. Vann of Orange, California, chairman of Catholic Legal Immi-gration Network, Inc., (CLINIC), urged the administration to end such practices that began in early January and have targeted individuals in Georgia, Texas and North Carolina.
“We find such targeting of immigrant women and children – most of whom fled violence and persecution in their home countries – to be inhumane and a grave misuse of limited enforcement resources,” the bishops wrote. “DHS’s action contrasts sharply with the statements articulated by President Obama himself in November 2014, namely, that his administration would pursue the deportation of ‘felons, not families; criminals, not children; gang members, not a Mom who’s working hard to provide for her kids.’”
Bishop Elizondo and Bishop Vann also addressed serious due process concerns. “Some of these cases, and likely many others, illustrate the serious due process issues facing these mothers and children. We object to the removal of any migrants who were apprehended without first confirming that they received actual meaningful opportunities to present their asylum claims at hearings in immigration court,” the bishops wrote. Bishop Elizondo and Bishop Vann also urged the administration and Congress to adopt long-term solutions such as supporting humanitarian efforts in Central America and addressing the root causes of forced migration.
Houston Catholic Worker, January-February 2016, Vol. XXXV, No. 1.