SVDP and US Bishops join in plea to transform immigration, See the following letter from Sheila Gilbert, President of the National Council of the U.S. Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
Last year, the Border Patrol apprehended more than 68,000 immigrant families, the majority of them in South Texas. As a result, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched a policy of detaining immigrant families in prison-like facilities.
Many are women and children fleeing extreme violence, death threats, rape, and persecution in their home countries, targeted by gangs or, in some cases, victims of domestic abuse. With hopeful hearts, they seek safety and asylum in the United States and instead they find prison. Many are spending long periods in detention, while their cases are pending.
Each day U.S. Catholic institutions, including the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, minister to detained immigrants, represent them in removal proceedings, tend to the material and spiritual needs of their families, and witness the pain of traumatized children and the anguish of divided families.
Because of the detention system’s devastating effect on the lives of millions of persons each year, the Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (MRS/USCCB) strongly supports the replacement of the U.S. Immigration Detention System with a network of supervised release, case management and community support programs, designed to ensure court appearances. Detention should be limited to cases when court appearances cannot be reasonably ensured.
In addition, MRS/USCCB opposes the detention of pregnant and nursing women, bona fide asylum-seekers, the very ill, the disabled, the elderly, and other vulnerable persons.
We stand with the MRS/USCCB in urging the Obama Administration to transform the Immigration Detention System, as the Bishops have proposed.
Please click on the Take Action! link to send a letter to President Obama.
Yours in St. Vincent and Blessed Frederic,
National Council of the U.S. Society of St. Vincent de Paul