It is my hope and prayer that recent actions taken by the President will in fact end the separation of immigrant parents and children at the border.
We all have many questions about his this Executive Order will be applied.
We must continue to assess the situation the ground. Some things might be changing: some things might not. Let us proceed realistically.
The fact is, however, that tonight, there are young children in detention centers crying because want their mom or dad, and there are parents in other detention centers, or in jail on a misdemeanor charge, desperate to know where their children are. These are mostly immigrant poor, fleeing across miles in hops of escaping violence and death.
We gather tonight for a simple vigil of prayer. We pray first for the children and their parents. That they find some light in their lives tonight. That they quickly be reunited; and that harm done by separation might be soon healed. And that all immigrants be afforded calm due process in the adjudication of their claims for asylum.
We pray also for the people of the whole Rio Grande Valley who have been wounded by witnessing an application of law without concern for the human good of the children, or of their parents.
We pray for the anonymous law enforcement officials and court officials whose consciences have been deeply offended by having to participate in the separation of trying children from their parents.
And we pray for our nation and her leaders, that good conscience and sound judgment open to the call of human compassion might guid us to finding humane ways to address the suffering of the immigrant poor.
The immigrant, as immigrant, is not an enemy. To be an immigrant does not make one automatically a criminal to be locked up, either individually or as a family unit. Yes, there are lawless elements among immigrants, but surely we can find ways of distinguishing between criminals that cause people to flee, and those innocents who are fleeing because of these very criminals.
With a Catholic Heart, and it is that Heart that I am most fit to address, we look at the suffering of the human person, and recognizing the great dignity there – for the WORD Himself became flesh – ask how our laws and governance can serve to protect the most vulnerable who have no other recourse than to flee, even as they recognize legitimate national interests.
To address this human realty requires reason, courage and compassion. Let us seek this, pray for this sacrifice for this. For God who dignified us by joining our ranks, would have us resident any attempt to make people, especially the immigrant poor and their children, into pawns in a larger game of power and control.
Tonight, and tomorrow and the days thereafter, we will continue to pray and work to uphold that dignity which God alone grants and sustains in every human person, especially in the most vulnerable and powerless in our midst.
May God have mercy on us all.
Editor’s Note: Bishop Daniel Flores made the above remarks at a prayer vigil for immigrant children, held in Archer Park in McAllen, Texas, on Wednesday. June 20, 2018.