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US should treat immigrants, including undocumented workers and children, more humanely

Posted 13 July 2018 at 9:45 pm

Editor:

We urge you to read the July 2018 Western New York Catholic with four articles on immigration: Bishop Malone’s “Let’s Build Bridges, Not Walls,” “Catholic Leaders Condemn Zero Tolerance” and two columns.

When President Trump first took office, he said, regarding the “undocumented,” it doesn’t make sense to deport successful, productive people.

Regarding refugees, thanks to President Trump for stopping his administration’s odious process of separating, even infant children from their parents and siblings and imprisoning them without contact.

But that’s just the beginning of needs that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops have asked our government to address:

We’re still faced with these unjust and/or inhumane actions:

1. Imprisoning refugee children and parents “indefinitely.” According to Time magazine, they secured a memo that the Attorney General and HHS are considering using a Super Fund toxic-contaminated former army base, with “austere” conditions.

2. Denying asylum to women fleeing domestic violence.

3. The attorney general is still calling for “zero tolerance” regarding the “undocumented.” That creates the prospect of separating a million-plus children and families.

4. Deporting persons (DACA eligible), who came here as children through no fault of their own, and have prospered and contributed, many now with wives and children.

5. Deporting anyone who came to the US to work since 1986 until recently (and we allowed employers to hire “undocumented,” although it was against the law), and did work and contribute, who’ve educated themselves, who’ve served in the US Military, who are caretakers for children and elderly, who are victims of and witnesses to crime, and not serious criminals nor discernible security threats. (Protected up till recently by Prosecutorial Discretion.)

6. Depriving farmers of productive, non-criminal workers. (Being “undocumented” is not a crime, where hiring them is.) We’ve allowed this for so long, particularly from 1986 to 2003, to enforce the law harshly now would be both unjust and economically foolish.

It seems the President has taken some poor advice or appointed the wrong people.

As Catholics we should urge the President to allow more refugees (as we’ve done in the past) and follow his initial thoughts on “undocumented” farmworkers and other such workers. We should likewise urge Congress to finally approve a bi-partisan bill, that takes into consideration the justice and Christian principles that the Bishops and other religious and civic leaders and organizations have advised since 2003.

We realize the President has expressed concern over criminality of the “undocumented.” The reality is that immigrants are no more likely to commit crime that any other population group, and victim studies verify that.  Even with respect to “street crime,” they’re likely less prone, than American citizens, who find themselves in difficult circumstances.

Bob Golden and the Holy Family Social Justice Committee

Albion

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