Thursday, June 14, 2018

Catholic bishops call Trump’s asylum rules ‘immoral,’ with one suggesting ‘canonical penalties’ for those involved

People seeking political asylum in the United States line up to be interviewed in Tijuana, Mexico, just across the border from San Diego. (Elliot Spagat/AP)
Leading U.S. Catholic bishops on Wednesday escalated their criticism of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, calling new asylum-limiting rules “immoral” and rhetorically comparing the crackdown to abortion by saying it is a “a right-to-life” issue.
One bishop from the U.S.-Mexico border region reportedly suggested “canonical penalties” — which could refer to withholding the sacrament of Communion — for Catholics involved in implementing the Trump policies.
The comments came as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — the organizing body of bishops — gathered for a biannual meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The topics of migration and asylum have long been a focus for the U.S. church; more than 50 percent of U.S. Catholics under the age of 30 are Latinos.
The statements, including by the conference’s president, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, came two days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions ruled that fear of domestic violence or gang violence aren’t clear grounds for seeking asylum in the United States. Sessions said asylum claims have expanded too broadly.

But the bishops said the ruling this week came on top of other Trump White House moves that they oppose. Those include ending a program that protected from deportation the “dreamers,” young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, and reducing significantly the number of refugees allowed into the United States.
“At its core, asylum is an instrument to preserve the right to life. The Attorney General’s recent decision elicits deep concern because it potentially strips asylum from many women who lack adequate protection. These vulnerable women will now face return to the extreme dangers of domestic violence in their home country. This decision negates decades of precedents that have provided protection to women fleeing domestic violence,” said a statement Wednesday by DiNardo in his capacity as USCCB president.
The statement also condemned the “continued use of family separation at the U.S./Mexico border as an implementation of the Administration’s zero tolerance policy. Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma. Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together.”

No comments: