Bishop Ricken issues statement on immigration and family separation

GREEN BAY – In a statement released June 21, Bishop David Ricken is calling on Catholics to contact their elected leaders to help resolve the nation’s immigration concerns by working towards comprehensive immigration reform.

People in Detroit, Mich., demonstrate against the Trump administration’s policy of separating young children from their parents June 14. Pope Francis told Reuters he stands with the U.S. bishops in their condemnation of the Trump administration’s immigration policy has led to children being held in government shelters while their parents are detained in federal prison. (CNS photo | Jim West)

By passing legislation that follows principals outlined by the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops, the country can avoid separating immigrant families, such as has been the case in recent weeks, said Bishop Ricken.

Bishop Ricken also called for prayers for immigrants who flee their countries in an effort to escape violence.

Below is the full text of Bishop Ricken’s statement:

Like many of you, I have followed the news of what is happening on our border to parents and children, and I have prayerfully reflected on how to respond to this issue.

I am pleased to see that the president has taken steps to end the practice of family separation at our borders. However, this decision addresses the symptoms, not the problem. We must acknowledge that the current situation is the result of years of haphazard policy on immigration. The bishops of the United States have consistently called for comprehensive immigration reform based on the following principles:

  • Persons have the right to find opportunities in their homeland.
  • Persons have the right to migrate to support themselves and their families.
  • Sovereign nations have the right to control their borders.
  • Refugees and asylum seekers should be afforded protection.
  • The human dignity and human rights of undocumented migrants should be protected.

Even with this new executive order, our immigration policy still does not reflect these principles.

For this reason, today I call on Catholics and people of good will to reach out to their political leaders in Congress and the administration to work towards comprehensive immigration reform based on these principles. This will require people to put aside their own political agendas and find policies that affirm the dignity of all human beings. Doing so is the only way we can avoid situations like this in the future.

In addition, I encourage all of us to pray for migrant families, especially those who leave their homes due to violence or persecution. Pray, too, for our political leaders that they may be guided by the Holy Spirit to, once and for all, enact comprehensive immigration reform.

May the peace of Christ transform each of us to more fully respect the dignity of all human beings!

En Espanol: El Obispo Ricken emite declaración sobre la inmigración y la separación de la familia