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Bishops express concern over National Guard deployment

Migration Committee chair backs statement by U.S./Mexico border bishops

WASHINGTON | The U.S. Catholic bishops of the southern border issued a statement April 6, 2018, regarding their deep concern over the Trump Administration’s decision to deploy the National Guard at the U.S./Mexico border.

Bishop Joe Vásquez, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, issued the following statement April 11, 2018, in support of the southern border bishops and in response to the Administration’s recent actions:

“On behalf of the USCCB Committee on Migration, I fully affirm the concerns voiced by the U.S. bishops of the southern border regarding the presence of the National Guard at the U.S./Mexico border. Current law entitles those fleeing persecution and arriving in our country to due-process as their claims are reviewed. As the border bishops state: ‘Seeking refuge from persecution and violence in search of a peaceful life for oneself and one’s family is not a crime.’ Our faith calls us to respond with compassion to those who suffer and seek safe haven; we ask our government to do the same as it seeks to safely and humanely secure the border.”

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Here is the border bishops' complete statement:

“We are deeply concerned by the announcement that the National Guard will be deployed on the U.S./Mexico Border. The continued militarization of the U.S./Mexico Border distorts the reality of life on the border; this is not a war zone but instead is comprised of many peaceful and law-abiding communities that are also generous in their response to human suffering. 

“We recognize the right of nations to control and secure their borders; we also recognize the need of nations to respect the rule of law. Current law in the United States rightly provides that those arriving to our country fleeing persecution are entitled to due-process as their claims are reviewed. Seeking refuge from persecution and violence in search of a peaceful life for oneself and one’s family is not a crime.

“Our faith calls us to respond with compassion to those who suffer, and to live in a spirit of solidarity with all human beings. We remain hopeful that our local, state and federal officials will work collaboratively and prudently in the implementation of this deployment, ensuring that the presence of the National Guard is measured and not disruptive to community life.

“We are also deeply concerned that at this time divisive rhetoric often promotes the dehumanization of immigrants, as if all were threats and criminals. We urge Catholics and people of good will to look past the dehumanizing rhetoric regarding immigrants and remember that they are a vulnerable population, our neighbors, and our sisters and brothers in Christ.”

The statement was signed by: 
Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio                   
Bishop James Tamayo of Laredo
Bishop Michael J. Sis of San Angelo                                                               
Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville 
Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso
Bishop Edward J. Weisenburger of Tucson, Arizona
Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego
Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico. 

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