There 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.