Corporate Stance: Unaccompanied Children on the Border

The Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids recognize, as a moral obligation, the need to protect children fleeing violence or oppression in their homelands. We commit ourselves to act as their advocates in local, national, and international communities. Two of the strategies to accomplish this are the following:

  • We will advocate for government policies that protect the health and well-being of children, particularly in providing them access to status as asylum seekers.
  • We will collaborate with others in the educational, economic, ecclesial, social, and legal communities to assure the safety and security of children.

Below, read the stance in its entirety including our rationale and theological considerations.

The Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids (MI)
Corporate Stance: Unaccompanied Children on the Border
October 2014

CORPORATE STANCE:
The Dominican Sisters ~ Grand Rapids recognize, as a moral obligation, the need to protect children fleeing violence or oppression in their homelands. We commit ourselves to act as their advocates in local, national, and international communities. Two of the strategies to accomplish this are the following:
1) We will advocate for government policies that protect the health and well-being of children, particularly in providing them access to status as asylum seekers.

2) We will collaborate with others in the educational, economic, ecclesial, social, and legal communities to assure the safety and security of children.

RATIONALE:
In our Direction Statements of 1992 and 1994, we stated:
We commit, as women, to stand with other women of our world as we experience oppression, poverty, and violence. We will advocate for government policies that protect the health and well-being of children. There is a massive number of unaccompanied children from Central America who have entered our country. In 2011, that number was around 6,000 and we anticipate upwards to 60-90,000 this year as stated in John Kerry’s press release (July 1, 2014) concerning their deportation. Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, in his testimony* to the House Judiciary Committee (6/25/14) stated that fear of violence is a driving factor of this immigration influx.
* http://www.usccb.org/about/migration-policy/upload/BSeitzfinaltest.pdf

THEOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS

From the beginning of the Sinai Covenant, concern for the immigrant has been a concern for the People of God. Commands from the Torah dictate: Yahweh is your God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, triumphant and terrible, never partial, never to be bribed. It is he who sees justice done for the orphan and the widow, who loves the stranger and gives him food and clothing. Love the stranger then, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. Deuteronomy 10:17-20

In the body of Catholic Social Justice teaching, there is a wealth of instruction for the Faithful.

• 2001 Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity USCCB

• 2003 Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope

• 2003 Juntos en el Camino de la Esperanza Ya no Somos Extranjeros Bishops of the United States/Mexico

• 2013 “Report of the Committee on Migration” USCCB

• 2014 Joint Declaration on the Child Migrant Crisis Bishops of the United States, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras