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Six Texan bishops lament “inhumane” conditions at US southern border

Posted on: July 12, 2019 2:23 PM
An immigrant family is detained by the US Customs and Border Protection officials after crossing into the United States and turning themselves in to request asylum in El Paso, Texas, as seen from Ciudad Juarez in Mexico on Tuesday (9 July)
Photo Credit: Daniel Becerril / Reuters
Related Categories: immigrants, Mexico, Texas, USA

[ACNS, by staff writer] Bishops from the six dioceses of the US-based Episcopal Church in the State of Texas have issued a joint letter decrying “fear-based policy-making” on immigration. They say that people seeking asylum should be treated “humanely”. In their letter, the bishops call for “a humane and fair system for moving asylum seekers through the system as required by law.” The bishops’ dioceses cover almost one third of the 2,000 mile US-Mexico border. “All of Texas feels the impact of anything that happens on our southern border”, they said.

“We feel it through our families, many of whom have ancient deep roots in lands south of the United States. We feel it in our economy, as Mexico is Texas’ biggest trading partner. We feel it in our culture, since Texas was part of Mexico before we were part of the United States. Most of all, we feel it in our souls, for these are our neighbours, and we love them.”

They say: “We call on our state and national leaders to reject fear-based policy-making that targets people who are simply seeking safety, and a chance to live and work in peace. The situation at the border is, by all accounts, a crisis. Refugees come in desperation; border personnel are under stress.

“We call on our leaders to trust in the goodness, generosity and strength of our nation. God has blessed us with great abundance. With it comes the ability and responsibility to bless others.”

The letter, signed by Bishops George Sumner of Dallas; J Scott Mayer, Sam Hulsey and Rayford B High Junior of Fort Worth; J Scott Mayer of Northwest Texas; Michael Buerkel Hunn of Rio Grande; Andrew Doyle, Jeff W Fisher and Kathryn M Ryan of Texas; and David Reed and Jennifer Brooke-Davidson of West Texas, contains numerous calls on Scripture, including Matthew 18 2-6, on welcoming children in Jesus’ name, and Leviticus 19 33-34, on welcoming foreigners in your land.

“This is not a call for open borders”, the bishops said. “This is not saying that immigration isn’t complicated. This is a call for a humane and fair system for moving asylum seekers and refugees through the system as required by law. Seeking asylum is not illegal. Indeed, the people at our border are following the law when they present themselves to border authorities.”