Statement from Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., on the Treatment of Immigrant Children in Detention Facilities

Like many of you, I was horrified by the picture of Oscar Martinez and his daughter, Angie Valeria, lying lifelessly by the Rio Grande after fleeing their country to seek refuge in our country. Equally unthinkable are the images of children in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in our country’s immigration detention facilities.

Human hearts cry out for justice. We see within these pictures our brothers and sisters. We all are created in the image and likeness of God, and so are forever interwoven as one family with the Lord. In those horrible images, we see ourselves and those who are dear to us. These are our brothers and sisters in faith.

Children must not be used as pawns for political ends. They must not be manipulated in order to produce a picture of America that is closed to people fleeing devastating violence and poverty.

The supplemental appropriations bill before Congress must provide for the protection of migrant children. As a people of faith, we urge our legislators to rise above the tedious and dangerous partisan bickering and recognize the needs of those most vulnerable who unquestionably merit our care and protection.