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