Tuesday, May 23, 2017

ICE Makes Criminals: What Should Priests Do? /Media Release from RCWP and ARCWP

ICE makes Criminals:    What Should Priests Do?
For Immediate Release: May 23, 2017


From Roman Catholic Women Priests  
Contact: Victoria Rue, M.Div., Ph.D., 831-566-1839, victoria@victoriarue.com
From the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
Contact: Janice Sevre-Duszynska, 859-684-4247, rhythmsofthedance1@gmail.com


When ICE arrests an undocumented mother, what should priests do? Priests must find ways to say NO.  


When ICE waits outside a sanctuary church for an undocumented family or person to step over the threshold, what should priests do? Priests must find ways to say NO.


When ICE arrests the undocumented, they call the person a criminal. ICE then says they are deporting criminals. But they are not criminals. What should priests do? Priests must find ways to say NO.


Two private prison corporations — CCA and GEO Group — dominate the immigration detention industry.  The CCA-operated South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley holds about 500 women and children. It is under expansion to grow to an expected capacity of 2,400.  The GEO-run Karnes County Texas Residential Center houses mothers and children and now holds around 600 women and children, but will expand to a capacity of 1,200.  Women and children of the Americas are the new locked up slaves of the USA.
Priests must find ways to say NO.


CCA’s profits for their private detention industry is over $200,000,000.  GEO’s profits are over $150,000,000.  Javier Flores Garcia, an undocumented father of two children, has lived for the past six months out of fear of deportation in a sanctuary church in Philadelphia, Arch United Methodist Church.  Javier used to make $2,800 a month as a gardener.  Compare CCA and GEO’s profits to Javier’s salary. Priests must find ways to say NO.


Roman Catholic Womenpriests [RCWP-USA] and the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) join with those Catholic male priests who have stepped forward to say NO.  We join with countless Protestant Churches and their pastors who are Sanctuary Churches and say NO.  We join with all people of faith to decry the unjust tactics of ICE deportation officers who since January have arrested 41, 318 people.  ICE has said that nearly 75% of those arrested are convicted criminals---but they neglect to add that most have no criminal record until arrested by ICE and called “criminals” by ICE itself. 

Our brother Jesus would proudly wear the title “criminal.”  Priests can do no less.

Bridget Mary's Response: When ICE arrests an undocumented person, what should priests do? Priests must find ways to do what Jesus would did- reach out with compassion to our undocumented sisters and brothers, and work for justice, laws that offer the undocumented a path to legal status. 

When I was eight years old, my family immigrated from Ireland for economic opportunity. I will never forget the awe I felt when we sailed past the majestic Statue of Liberty in beautiful New York Harbor. The inscription on the Statue applies to all refugees including our undocumented sisters and brothers.. As a nation of immigrants, Lady Liberty reminds us of our rich history as a safe haven for all who are tired and poor and seek a home in our land. 
"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door! "The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.
When Pope Francis traveled to the border between the United States and Mexico, he denounced "systems of oppression that force people to flee to other countries," and blessed undocumented immigrants in the United States. His words,"no more death, no more oppression" and his actions of blessing and challenging injustice reflect the heart of God where all are one.  
As ICE makes criminals, priests should walk in the steps of Jesus' love for the marginalized and follow the example of Pope Francis  by blessing the undocumented and challenging injustice and oppression everywhere. 
Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, www.arcwp.org, 703-505-0004

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