Catholic leaders scorn Trump’s border policy

Catholic leaders in the United States are disgusted President Donald Trump wants National Guard troops to go to the US-Mexico border.

They say it is morally irresponsible, dangerously ineffective and unwise.

Rather than keeping migrants out of the United States, they would like the administration to be more welcoming.

In a statement from the Hope Border Institute, Bishop Mark Seitz says deploying troops is “a hurtful attack on migrants, our welcoming border culture, and our shared values as Americans.”

Instead of attacking migrants, Seitz says “only by working together to address the dehumanising poverty and insecurity in our sister countries in Latin America and around the world will we resolve the root causes that drive migration.”

Bishop Daniel E. Flores is also trying to debunk notions of an “invasion” of Central American migrants making their way through Mexico to the United States.

He explained migrants “travel in numbers for self-protection against gangs” and noted that many “Central Americans fleeing violence in their native country try to settle in Mexico.

“Central Americans have a right in US law to apply for asylum,” he said.

Another Catholic leader, Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, called Trump’s decision to send the National Guard to the border “a senseless action and a disgrace on the administration.”

“These measures manifest represion (sic), fear, a perception that everyone is an enemy, and a very clear message: we don’t care about anybody else. This is not the American Spirit,” he tweeted.

The Mexican bishops’ conference has also expressed dismay and concern for the safety of Mexican and Latin American migrants.

“It’s highly risky for our Mexican and Latin American people to have a semi-militarised border …” a tweet from the Mexican bishops’ conference said.

Despite his opponents’ views, Trump is justifying his request for the National Guard’s help.

He says they are needed to deter illegal immigration and drug smuggling.

In his opinion, the “lawlessness” at the border is “fundamentally incompatible with the safety, security and sovereignty of the American people.”

Over the past few weeks, over 1,500 migrants from Central America have been making their way through Mexico, seeking relief from violence in their home countries.

Mexico has broken up groups traveling together, drawing praise from Trump.

Many of the migrants have been given temporary transit visas. Some intend to request asylum in the United States. Others say they plan to ask for humanitarian visas to stay in Mexico.



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