The following is an excerpt from a recent writing of Bishop Gerald Barnes of San Bernardino:

We are called to take notice of and respond to specific situations and challenges that impact family life. One very painful and egregious example of this is recent reports of tactics now being carried out by federal immigration enforcement officials in regard to undocumented persons and their children.

We have long said that current federal immigration law has the tragic effect of separating families. Now we are seeing this play out before our very eyes. In a continuation of its divisive rhetoric and actions on the issue of immigration, the administration of President Donald Trump has declared a “zero tolerance” policy for those who cross the southwest border of the United States without documentation. This means that parents are detained and immediately put into deportation proceedings while any children that are with them – no matter how young – are held separately in detention facilities for an indeterminate period of time. 

How does experiencing this kind of trauma of separation affect a child? What are the long term effects on their psyche and on their faith? As people of faith, what is our responsibility to these children? These are questions we should ponder as we pray for and put ourselves in solidarity with families caught in this terrible circumstance.

Immigration policy is surely a hot-button political issue and a complicated one. It stirs feelings in some of us that, when respectfully expressed, need to be heard and considered.  At the same time, this mean-spirited and dehumanizing behavior from our government leaders, the separation of children from their parents, cannot in any way be reconciled with what our Catholic faith tells us about human dignity, family and the call for us to care for the poor, the migrant and refugee.

Full story at Diocese of San Bernardino website.