USCCB Chairman Decries Opening of Family Detention Center in Dilley, Texas, Proposes More Humane Alternatives to Detention for Vulnerable Families
WASHINGTON—Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, decried the opening of a 2,400-bed detention center in Dilley, Texas, constructed to house, among others, families fleeing persecution in Central America.
The detention center, operated by a private, for-profit group, was inaugurated December 15.
“It is inhumane to house young mothers with children in restrictive detention facilities, as if they are criminals,” said Bishop Elizondo December 16. “Already traumatized from their journey, these families are very vulnerable and need care and support, not further emotional and psychological harm.” Studies have shown that detention has a harmful psychological impact on children.
Bishop Elizondo added that the Obama administration’s pursuit of a deterrence policy– including detention and interdiction– against children and families fleeing violence undermines basic human rights.
“Many of these families are fleeing persecution and should be afforded the full benefit of domestic and international law,” Bishop Elizondo said. “As we saw in the case of Artesia, detention denies mothers and children with valid legal claims meaningful access to due process, including legal representation.” A temporary detention facility in Artesia, New Mexico, housing families was recently closed down, in part, because of strong opposition to due process violations and conditions there, especially for children. The average age of children detained in Artesia was six and a half years old.
Bishop Elizondo added that humane alternatives to detention exist, particularly community-based alternatives based on a case management model.
“Past community-based programs have shown that vulnerable groups such as families can be placed in a community setting and still appear at their immigration hearings, provided they are given the proper support,” Bishop Elizondo said. “The government should explore this humane alternative and not cause further harm to these families, particularly children.”
WORLD DAY OF PEACE 2015
SLAVES NO MORE, BUT BROTHERS AND SISTERS
Check out this two-page handout for a summary of the message and prayer and action ideas!
USCCB Migration Chairman Welcomes Obama Administration Announcement of Relief for Immigrant Families, USCCB President Cites Urgent Pastoral Need for a More Humane View of Immigrants
Action keeps families together and protects children
Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop Lori Urge Congress To Include Abortion Non-Discrimination Act in Funding Legislation
Statement on the Results on Measure 1:
We are, of course, disappointed with today’s results. We are not, however, disappointed in how Catholics across the state joined with people of other faiths and no faith at all to fight for the culture of life in North Dakota.
Sadly, the opposition to Measure 1 relied solely on scare tactics and outright lies to confuse and frighten voters. The No campaign, funded and directed by Planned Parenthood, refused throughout the campaign to debate supporters of the measure or provide explanations for its claims. The people of North Dakota deserved better.
Measure 1 would have clarified that the state constitution does not contain an expansive right to abortion. Unfortunately, the people of North Dakota were denied an honest and robust debate on that issue. The cause of life and the need to address this fundamental question remain.
Although Measure 1 lost, we are not disheartened. On the issue, we won. The opponents basically conceded that this is a pro-life state by completely avoiding the importance of common sense pro-life laws. The loss of Measure 1 is not a setback. In the last five years North Dakota has passed a record number of pro-life bills, only one of which has been struck down by the courts.
In short, the pro-life movement in North Dakota has never been stronger or more unified. We have truly been blessed by this experience.
Catholic Conference Applauds State Supreme Court Decision, Calls for Passage of Measure 1 to Settle Questions
The North Dakota Catholic Conference, acting on behalf of the state’s Catholic bishops, responded favorably to today’s ruling by the North Dakota Supreme Court and called on voters to decide the unresolved question of whether the state constitution contains a right to abortion.
Christopher Dodson, executive director of the conference stated: “This is a good day for the protection of women’s health and for affirming the right of elected officials to establish regulations to protect the health and safety of women seeking abortions.” He noted, however, that the split decision by the court demonstrates “more than ever why North Dakotans must pass Measure 1 on November 4.” He added: “The people of North Dakota have a right to decide this question before the abortion lobby comes back into the state to try again to strike down laws that even the U.S. Supreme Court has said we can pass.”
The North Dakota Catholic Conference submitted a friend of the court brief defending the law.
Dodson’s full statement follows.
Today the North Dakota Supreme Court reversed a ruling by Judge Wickham Corwin striking down the state’s regulation of abortion-inducing drugs. We applaud the ruling. This is a good day for the protection of women’s health and for affirming the right of elected officials to establish regulations to protect the health and safety of women seeking abortions.
Although Judge Corwin’s decision was reversed and the law passed in 2011 can now go into effect, the North Dakota Supreme Court did not resolve whether the North Dakota Constitution provides a right to abortion. The court was evenly split on that question.
The split opinion demonstrates more than ever why North Dakotans must pass Measure 1 on November 4. The people of North Dakota have a right to decide this question before the abortion lobby comes back into the state to try again to strike down laws that even the U.S. Supreme Court has said we can pass.