As daughters of Saint Julie Billiart, marked in Baptism to follow Jesus and participate in His liberating mission, we choose to stand with people made poor in a world increasingly divided. We see the value of human life diminished, the destruction of our earth and intolerance towards people perceived to be different, poor or abandoned. Rooted in the prophetic witness of Saint Julie, we are called and seek to be women of justice and peace in the midst of the inequality and violence of our world. We see ourselves as part of a global community seeking to transform unjust structures and systems, participating in new ways of relating which enable all of creation to experience God's goodness. This moment in history calls us to contemplative listening, ongoing dialogue and critical social analysis that moves us to ACTION.
As Gospel women, who accept the role of responsible citizenry, I wonder how often we take time to sift through the consequences of US policies that we seek to change.
When I read the US Conference of Catholic Bishops Justice for Immigrants publication on the Remain in Mexico Policy, which the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Migrant Protection Protocols issued via memorandum on January 25, 2019. I began to do just that.
I imagined a 42-year-old mother named Maria. After seeing her husband murdered she left her homeland of El Salvador to save her only son. She made the treacherous trip north because her sister who lives in the US who guaranteed her a home if she had the courage to sacrifice herself and her son to get here.
If Maria actually arrived at the border and succeeded in passing her credible fear screening with a US asylum officer she would likely tell her that needed to remain in Mexico to await her asylum hearing in US immigration court. She and her son would then be catapulted into dangerous and unsafe circumstances where their lives might be at risk.
For Maria and others like her there are obvious questions. Where will they stay? Where will they find food? What if they need medical attention? They are left without family, legal or social support. How can people assert their asylum claims outside the US in these unsafe conditions?
Catholic Social Teaching recognizes the right of people to migrate, especially in the face of violence, persecution, and inability to provide for a dignified life for one’s family. In the face of a hostile atmosphere we must work to change laws and policies so that they are humane and respond to the needs of individuals and families who find themselves in these difficult circumstances