Welcome the Stranger

Cardinal SeanThere has been a lot of reporting recently on the effects of the Attorney General Sessions order to have all immigrants attempting to enter the country illegally, to be arrested and jailed.  A part of that order is to separate any children from their immigrant parents, and hold them in separate facilities, pending placement in foster homes.  Some in the government have advanced the theory that it will deter immigrants from attempting to cross the border, at the cost of losing their children.

Many spokespersons of civil rights and religious organizations have spoken out sharply against this policy.  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, meeting in Florida have condemned the policy, and is discussing sending a delegation of bishops to the border to examine the conditions at these facilities, and the condition of the immigrants being held.  Here in Boston, MA, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap, Archbishop of Boston has issued a statement on the current immigration situation.

While our country has the right to control it’s borders, and who is be allowed into this country, humane policies should be implemented in enforcing immigration laws.  What we are beginning to see on our screens, and reading newspapers, shows a failure of empathy and charity by this government.  It is yet to be seen if the American public will voice it’s concern for the immigrant children, given the growing hostility towards illegal immigrants in general.

What is really upsetting many religious leaders is the attempt by Attorney General Sessions and Press Secretary Sanders to use Scripture to back the government immigration policies.  There are commentators who criticize  the use of Scripture passages out of context.

Well, I may about to do the same thing; but I close with this Scripture passage that always turn to when reflecting on the moral issues of immigration policies.  It is from the Book of Leviticus:

When an alien resides with you in your land, do not molest him.  You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; have the same love him as for yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt.  I, the Lord, am your God.”  (Lv 19: 33-34, NAB)

We are citizens of a country of immigrants; we are all descendants of immigrants.  Those who come to our shores, approach our borders; need to be treated with dignity, care, and respect.

3 thoughts on “Welcome the Stranger

  1. Here in Australia we are dealing with the same problem as you are in the US. There is urgent need to protect our borders (this is true). However the separation of children from familiies does not seem right or appropriate. We are indeed all immigrants but once upon a time immigrants in my country came from all over the world but they were happy to assimilate and embrace our lifestyle also our Christian heritage. We are struggling with those who float in on boats and if welcomed have then set up their own ‘enclaves’ and even try to enforce their own law and religion on others. Absolutely refusing to ‘interact’ with others or in many cases speak English. That’s why our immigration policy where we take in thousands of homeless folks all round the world has to be tight. The cost of rehousing, educating, caring for health etc. costs $1 millions. How do we then deal with the ‘others’ illegal and often who have paid people smugglers? Its an ethical dilemma. WWJD?
    Certainly there needs to be more moral and effective measure for children and families. Prayer yes, United concern voiced by your Bishops…..May a resolution be found that may help us here as well . God Bless all who love the Lord and care about His Justice and Compassion.

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