Alaska bishops call border practice of separating children from parents ‘inhumane’


The bishops of Alaska issued the following statement, June 19, on the U.S. government’s practice of separating children from migrant parents who cross into the country illegally. The statement was signed by Anchorage Archbishop Paul Etienne, Anchorage Archbishop Emeritus Roger Schwietz, Juneau Bishop Andrew Bellisario and Fairbanks Bishop Chad Zielinski.

Their stories are horrific. They arrive at our borders looking for a better life. Unaccompanied minors whose parents tell them go, run for your lives. Single mothers fleeing with their little ones to escape sex trafficking by local gangs. Families and asylum seekers trying to find a better life, free from violence and extortion. The human toll currently happening at our borders is unacceptable on so many levels.

We, the Catholic Bishops of Alaska, stand in solidarity with Bishops from across the United States condemning this deplorable situation. It must come to an immediate end. Executive and congressional leadership must work together in solving this crisis.

As citizens of this country and as pastors, we turn our attention to the inhumane and disgraceful practice of separating children from their parents at the US / Mexico border. As of Friday, June 15, the United States Department of Homeland Security confirmed 1,995 minors traveling with 1,940 adults were separated from April 19 through May 31. Some of these children are as young as 18 months old. The lack of humanity is overwhelming.

We raise our voices in protest against such injustice, and join our hearts in solidarity with these immigrant families who seek only safety and asylum. We acknowledge the right of the government to secure our borders, but implore it be accomplished without damaging young lives or rupturing family bonds. A just nation can and must do better. This deplorable situation highlights the need for the leaders in our country to come together in service of the Common Good and reform our nation’s immigration laws.

'Alaska bishops call border practice of separating children from parents ‘inhumane’' have 2 comments

  1. June 2018 @ 7:32 pm Laurie Courtney

    I am a super-voter. In forty years, I can only recall two elections in which I did not cast a ballot. Obviously, there have been many times when my preferred candidate lost. In those cases, I continued about my business and prayed for the winner; respect for the office must supercede dismay at the office holder. The law which results in children being separated from adults in detention is several administrations old. The picture that jumpstarted the present discussion is four years old. The level of outrage is new. The number of people calling for hate-filled resistance is new. Threatening families of government employees both at the administration level and on the street level is new. The Bishops’ condemnation of the current Immigration Law would have gone so much further had it included a call for civil, respectful discourse in all arenas. I fear that letter won’t come until someone is fatally gunned down while trying to enjoy an evening out with family or friends. I prayed for the last president and his administration, I pray for the current president and his, I will pray for the next. As the song says, “God mend thine every flaw.”


  2. June 2018 @ 5:32 pm Donald Crosby

    The current administration is following this country’s law. Why is it a bad thing, the same policy and process was happening under the last administration. Where was the “Outrage”?


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