Arizona Catholic Conference Bishops’ Statement on Separating Families at the Border

June 4, 2018

The Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference wish to again express our continued solidarity with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) about the critical need to protect immigrant children and families seeking safety from violence by keeping them together. Many of those coming to our borders are fleeing starvation, violence or death. The separation of children from their parents in these situations, whether as a means of punishment or deterrence, is inhumane and entirely unacceptable.

Since the end of the Obama Administration and continuing into the Trump Administration, there have been troubling increases in the separation of families at the U.S. border with Mexico. In fact, over 700 children have been separated from their parents since October 2017, including over 100 children under the age of four.

We are concerned that these numbers of separated children will drastically increase following the recent statement by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on May 4, 2018 that all people crossing the border without authorization, including adult members of family units, will be referred for criminal prosecution.

The Catholic Church has always placed paramount importance on the value of family life, especially as it relates to parents and their children. Similarly, family unity is a cornerstone of the American immigration system. We are, therefore, greatly concerned about actions taken by DHS that may separate already vulnerable children from their parents and the potential harms that may arise.

Accordingly, we encourage people to join Catholics from around the country by sending a message to Congress asking for their help in protecting these children and their families by using the USCCB / Justice for Immigrants Action Alert found at: https://justiceforimmigrants.org/action-alerts/protect-immigrant-children-and-families-seeking-safety-and-shelter-from-violence-by-keeping-these-families-together/

Finally, we ask that the faithful join us in remembering and praying for all families, but especially the mothers, fathers, and children who are at risk of being separated.

Most Rev. Edward J. Weisenburger
Bishop of Tucson

Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted
Bishop of Phoenix

Most Rev. Eduardo A. Nevares
Auxiliary Bishop of Phoenix

Most Rev. James S. Wall
Bishop of Gallup

Most Rev. John S. Pazak
Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix