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Statement from Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., on Immigration Raids

July 14, 2019

The immigration enforcement raids announced by the Trump administration, scheduled to occur this Sunday around the country, will not provide a solution to our broken immigration system. Instead, they will cause more suffering to immigrant families, many of whom have been subject to detention, family separation, and violence.  

If carried out, the raids will separate families, causing trauma to children, who are extremely vulnerable and dependent on their parents. I urge the Trump administration to suspend these raids and work toward humane reform of our nation’s immigration laws.

Particularly disturbing is that these raids will be carried out as other families are attending Mass or services in churches, synagogues, or mosques. These enforcement actions should not be pursued on or around church property, as our brothers and sisters should not be afraid to worship God. It would show disrespect to all who worship and to God our Creator, who created us in His image.

Moreover, enforcement raids should not be deployed to further a political agenda. These families should not be used as political pawns, as they possess human rights and are equal to all of us in the eyes of God. They also are not a threat to our communities, as they came to our nation to seek a better life and to live in security.

Our elected officials must show the political will to come together and repair our immigration laws, so that these families can come out of the shadows and contribute fully to our nation. We must not continue to pursue deterrence policies which do not address the underlying causes of irregular migration—violence, climate change, and endemic poverty. These push factors are much stronger than any deterrent that a government can erect.

I ask all Catholics and others of good will to contact their local, state, and federal elected officials and urge them to oppose enforcement raids and to support humane immigration reform.