U.S.-Mexico border fence © Gregory Bull
The U.S. Catholic bishops have called on the government to immediately end the separation of families who enter the country illegally. They called Homeland Security's "zero tolerance policy" a "grave sin".
This is according to a statement released on Monday (local time). In particular, bishops who lead dioceses immediately adjacent to the Mexican border denounce the separation of children from their parents. Taking children "away" from their parents is "immoral and evil," tweeted San Antonio's archbishop, Gustavo Garcia-Siller.
This is a "cruel and reprehensible policy," the Bishop of Brownsville, Texas, Daniel Flores, disseminated via the short messaging service.
Emotions run high
Attorney General Jeff Sessions had said when announcing the new approach at the border that the migrants themselves were to blame for their fate. "If people don't want to be separated from their children, they shouldn't take them," Sessions said.
Already when the minister tried to justify the new practice toward migrants last Thursday by quoting the Bible, emotions ran high among critics. Laws of government are to be obeyed, Sessions said, referring to Romans 13, "because God has authorized them for the purpose of order".
Prayer procession announced
For Wednesday, Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, Texas, has announced a prayer procession for the torn-apart families.
The bishops also plan to visit the children in the transition camps and with foster families to get a picture of the situation. In the past few weeks alone, more than 2.000 children have been separated from their parents and placed thousands of miles away, according to government figures.