(Sister Mary Ann Walsh is the director of media relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.)
WASHINGTON (RNS) The saga of immigrants in 2014 may go down in history as a blight on America. Tragedies abound, from thousands who have died trying to cross the desert from impoverished Mexican towns, to little children born here and fighting for their parents to remain in the country with them. The government is setting records separating families, approaching 2 million deportations in the past five years.
Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez wants “a moratorium on any further deportations or immigration raids and arrests, except in cases of violent criminals.” In his archdiocesan newspaper, he noted that “one in every four persons who is being arrested or deported is being ripped out of their homes — taken away from their children, their wives and husbands, all their relatives.”
Children have brought him letters they had written to Pope Francis, and Gomez has sent the writings to the Vatican. He quoted from a letter from a young girl named Jersey, whose dad had been in an immigration detention center for two years and now is being deported.
“Dear Pope Francisco, Today is my birthday. My birthday wish is I would like to have my dad to be with me. … It has been so long that he hasn’t been with me on two of my birthdays, last year and today. … Since my father isn’t here my mom and sister have been trying to find a job. … Since you are the closest to God, I beg you to help my family. … Sincerely, Jersey.”
The data shows that our nation’s effort to cope with undocumented persons does not work. It is costly, most especially, I fear, for the soul of a nation.
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