Cardinal blesses rally protesting US immigration policies

US prelate Cardinal Joseph Tobin blessed Catholic leaders and community groups before joining a rally protesting the current US immigration policies.

These policies are particularly hard on children and their families.

“I am Joseph, your brother, who has been heartbroken by the inhumanity,” Tobin told a rally in Newark, New Jersey last Wednesday.

The government must stop detaining immigrant families, he said.

“I ask Catholics and others of goodwill to contact their elected officials and urge them not to manipulate immigrant families as political pawns.”

After blessing the group of about 400 protesters, Tobin joined them as they marched from Saint Mary’s Church to the city’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office.

A group of protesters blocked a pedestrian crossing outside the office, arranging themselves in the shape of a cross.

At the same time as the protesters were rallying, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General was releasing a report about the damage caused by separating children from their parents.

The report says migrant children separated from their parents “exhibited more fear, feelings of abandonment and post-traumatic stress” than migrant children who had not been separated from their loved ones.

Besides fleeing violence and experiencing direct threats to their safety during their journey to the US, the report notes some children also experienced an additional trauma: being unexpectedly separated from their parents because of U.S. immigration laws.

Tobin is of the same opinion.

“Children will bear the trauma wrought by immigration enforcement raids, separation from their families, and indeterminate detention,” he said.

“These draconian measures are not a solution to our broken immigration system.

“They are violations of human dignity and are contrary to all religious teachings and the sacred call to care for our most vulnerable populations.

“Unlike others, we don’t have to look up Bible verses to justify the building of walls. There are none.”

A young man who migrated to the US with his family several years before the border detentions began and today organises communities via the Cosecha Movement also addressed the rally.

“A family is something holy. An attack on a family is an attack on religion,” he said.

“How long must we endure this pain before people act? That is my question … I ask everybody present to not only to stay strong in your prayer but to stay strong in your action.”


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: ,