US Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph Statement on Migrants

The U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St Joseph aligns with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in opposing the current administration’s continued denigration of those fleeing untenable situations in their home countries through an executive order which will block those seeking asylum in the U.S. Known in the media as the “refugee caravan,” these courageous people — mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, and uncles — have fled tyranny,
persecution and violence in search of a safe place for themselves and their families. Just as our own ancestors did, they have fled home cultures of corruption and exploitation looking for the American dream.

As women religious, we reject the rhetoric of fear and policy of division that poisons our politics today. We choose instead to embrace an America that is filled with hope for a nation united for the common good. We stand with Pope Francis who calls us to, “promote the dignity of all our brothers and sisters, particularly the poor and the excluded of society, those who are abandoned, immigrants and those who suffer violence and human trafficking.” We urge the administration to manage refugee
arrivals humanely and in a manner that respects their dignity and rights under U.S. and international law and to:
• Allow migrants to approach our border and ask for protection in the United States and to be admitted for processing in a timely manner.
• Ensure that asylum seekers have access to legal counsel and receive a fair resolution of their claim.
• Guarantee that parents and children stay together after they are apprehended. Holding families indefinitely in detention or detaining parents while releasing their children violates the values of this nation and the standards set forth in the Flores settlement.
• Eschew detention of those awaiting adjudication of their asylum petitions in favor of alternatives that are more humane and more cost efficient.
• Direct Homeland Security to cooperate with faith-based and humanitarian organizations who are prepared to assist asylum-seekers.

The United States has a long and proud history of welcoming immigrants and sheltering refugees. We Sisters of St. Joseph live and work that all may be one — one with God, with one another, and all creation — and welcome the ‘dear neighbor’ without exception. We have been blessed to be able to accompany and serve migrant communities across this country, and we
will continue to welcome them as our faith requires.