Along with LCWR, Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ Denounce White House Immigration Principles and Policies

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Along with the members of the national organization for Catholic Sisters, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), we Poor Handmaids are deeply troubled by the continued actions of President Trump’s administration which denigrate our immigrant neighbors and threaten our communities. We reject the rhetoric of fear and the policy of division. We choose instead to embrace a dream for America that is filled with hope for a nation united in service of the common good. As Pope Francis reminded us on his most recent visit to the Americas, we are called 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.”

The list of so-called immigration principles put forward by the White House on October 8, 2017, is neither principled nor hope-filled. It certainly does not promote the dignity of all.

We are profoundly concerned about policy proposals that would increase needless deportations, end vital safeguards for unaccompanied minors, limit refugee resettlement, and curtail protections for asylum seekers. These do not reflect the values we hold deeply as Americans.

While we acknowledge the responsibility of the federal government to secure our borders and enforce the rule of law, we believe the best way to protect our communities is to create a compassionate and rational immigration system that respects human rights and border communities, reunites families, and meets the needs of employers and workers. A wall will only serve to divide border communities, threaten fragile ecosystems, and deplete the budget.

We are also troubled by the administration’s threat to prioritize employment-based immigration over family unity. Our nation needs immigration policy that reflects the paramount importance of family unity and recognizes the socio-economic contribution of families to the community.

Perhaps most concerning is the clear attempt by the Administration to use America’s DREAMers as bargaining chips to fulfill misguided campaign promises and score political points. We will not tolerate immigration law that trades one group of immigrants for another.  We will not abide a solution that denies these aspiring Americans the chance to contribute to our communities or the citizenship they are willing to earn.

We urge Congress to embrace our immigrant history as it seeks to secure the rights and dignity of 800,000 DREAMers.  We remain committed to seeing the Dream Act of 2017 enacted into law and look forward to working with members of Congress across the political spectrum to ensure that the standards upon which our immigration law is built reflect the principles of Catholic Social Teaching and the values of our nation.