Dozens of Catholics, priests arrested protesting child migrant treatment

Seventy people, including numerous priests and religious, were arrested last Thursday during a protest against the treatment of child migrants.

They were part of a coalition of Catholic clergy members and supporters at Washington’s Capitol making their concerns known about the children being held in detention facilities along the US southern border.

Capitol Police say the demonstrators were arrested on suspicion of unlawfully demonstrating and were charged with unlawfully crowding, obstructing or incommoding.

No one was injured.

Although they weren’t present, at least seven US bishops sent the protesters messages of support for the “Catholic Day of Action for Immigrant Children” protest.

As an example, the message from Bishop Anthony B. Taylor of Little Rock, Arkansas, said he wanted to express support for participants’ efforts “to convince the administration that they must stop demonizing and detaining children and families who pose no threat to anyone.

“The images of those who have suffered and died trying to make their way to freedom ‘cry to the heavens,’ in the words of our USCCB (US Conference of Catholic Bishops) leadership,” he said.

“Our faith calls us to oppose this cycle of violence.”

Organisers said their goal was to end the “inhumane treatment of immigrant children and child detention by the US government” by putting pressure on lawmakers.

The Trump administration has come under fire over reported poor conditions in the border detention facilities.

Overcrowding and prolonged detention have become common as a surge of migrants continues to overwhelm US border agencies.

“We want to call attention to the inadequate and unsanitary conditions which immigrants, including some families, are subjected to” one of the protest organisers said.

“We really think that our government, the Congress and the Trump administration, need to know that Catholics… will not stand for this.”

The Catholic activists, including dozens of women religious, reminded people of faith to take a stronger stand against current US border policies.

One of the religious sisters said Catholic sisters have a long history with immigrant communities.

“We have seen the pain, suffering, fear and trauma firsthand. In recent months, as the humanitarian crisis has escalated, we have joined the tens of thousands who are outraged at the horrific situation at our southern border.”

Women religious have been ministering to those in need and have donated money to support those seeking safety, freedom, security and a better life for their families, she said.

“We are here today because of our faith. The Gospel commands, and the values of our homeland demand, that we act.”



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