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Statement of California Bishops on the Transport of Displaced Migrant Children and Families to California

on . California Bishops Statements

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(En Español) In recent days, the people of our state have witnessed the arrival of hundreds of displaced people, mostly women and children, to various locations in Southern California. The Bishops of California wish to express our solidarity with these immigrant brothers and sisters who are coming to our state and to offer our prayer that God will deliver them to the safe environment they seek.

We also recognize our responsibility as a Church of compassion to come to their aid and help provide them with the practical and pastoral support they so need.

These children and families have journeyed to our country, fleeing violence and destitution in Central America. Sadly, their experience in California has thus far been marked by hostility and near chaos. They are exhausted, afraid and clinging to hope.

The gravity of this situation transcends politics; it is truly a humanitarian crisis that calls all of us, Catholics and others of good will, to respond with compassion and with urgent action.

The response of Catholic agencies and other community-based groups has already begun. Catholic Charities, working in collaboration with directly affected dioceses and other service organizations, is mobilizing to help these immigrants in centers of hospitality and assistance. Many individuals have contacted our parishes and social service agencies asking how they can help. This reflects the best of the American spirit.

California Catholics Respond to “Humanitarian Crisis”

on . Immigration

ca-mapSome parishes in the Diocese of San Bernardino are serving as temporary way stations for women and children fleeing violence and drug cartels in Central America; Catholic Charities in several dioceses are working to provide assistance and services to asylum seekers; and diocesan staffs are arranging pastoral care for the unaccompanied children being housed at retired military bases.

The large number of women and children arriving at the U.S. border has only recently received national media attention but the situation has been developing for years. (See 2013 Bishop Report – Rise in Violence Is Major Reason Children Are Fleeing.)

Most are “crossing” in Texas and surrendering to authorities. But the influx has forced Federal officials to improvise and they have asked faith-based and other non-profit agencies for assistance.

In their statement, the California Bishops emphasize our “responsibility as a Church of compassion to come to [the] aid [of fleeing migrants] and help provide them with the practical and pastoral support they so need.”

Pope Francis: Why are we surprised people flee violence and poverty?

on . Blog

statueoflibertycoin150“This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcome and protected,” said Pope Francis in a message about the large number of unaccompanied children seeking safety from the violence of their Central American homes.[i]

The concept that people seek safety and security did not start when the media noticed the children crossing the border or when one government or another failed to solve a problem.

Survival is as basic a human instinct as it gets.

Migration to find protection from danger is a fundamental concept. Globalization, says the Pope, has accelerated the process but it certainly didn’t create it.

So why are so many voices demanding a solution to some portion of the migration crisis before we help the children?

One of the most common openings in the debate about helping unaccompanied minors goes something like this: “Yes, we need to help the children, but first we must...” There follows various political posturing. We have heard it all before.

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