The Sisters of the Holy Names of the U.S.-Ontario Province stand with the caravan of immigrants and asylum seekers from Central America coming to our U.S. border. We are appalled by President Trump’s inflammatory remarks concerning these families forced from their homes by extraordinary violence from gangs, insecurity and corruption in their countries. Families cannot live in this total fear without the hope of safety or sufficient income or a peaceful life.
We ask the U.S. Congress to challenge the president to uphold the values our country has practiced for generations of welcoming immigrants and sheltering asylum seekers. It is a human right to seek asylum. The president’s comments about these immigrants are disrespectful and often not true, i.e., saying these refugees include terrorists from the Middle East and that they are invading our country.
Now the administration is sending 5,200 troops to our southern border to stop this caravan of immigrants and asylum seekers. One retired military officer has declared that the military is deployed for war, not for assisting in apprehending immigrants. Why is the U.S. Congress letting the president basically declare war on families seeking to enter the U.S. to save their lives and to live in peace?
We urge the administration to withdraw all military troops from our border and to manage refugee arrivals humanely and in a manner that respects their dignity and rights under U.S. and international law. Specifically we ask:
- Allow immigrants approaching our border to ask for protection in the U.S. and to be processed in a timely manner.
- Ensure that asylum seekers have access to legal counsel and receive a fair resolution to their claim.
- Guarantee that parents and children stay together while they seek asylum.
We must remember that the great majority of U.S. citizens’ ancestors have been immigrants. We want these current immigrants to have the same opportunity that our ancestors had.
For those of us who are Christians, we are reminded that Jesus clearly said we are to “welcome the stranger.” In today’s world, the strangers among us certainly include immigrants and refugees.
We urge all people of good will to contact your U.S. Congressional leaders to use their influence to stop our president’s current fear mongering and instead to allow immigrants and asylum seekers to cross the border and be humanely treated according to the laws of our country.
Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary
U.S.-Ontario Province Leadership Team
Mary Breiling, SNJM
Guadalupe Guajardo, SNJM
Mary Rita Rohde, SNJM