Humane Treatment of Migrants

The 353 Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities join with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in calling on President Trump to end his disparaging statements regarding the men, women and children fleeing poverty, violence and corruption in their home countries and to seek asylum in the United States.

The people in the caravan are mothers and fathers looking to protect their children from the violence of drug dealers and gangs in their villages, not individuals who would bring drugs to our country. They are young men and women who lack the means to gain an education and earn a decent living hoping to find the same American dream that our ancestors sought. They are women and girls running from domestic violence. While President Trump says they represent an “attack on our country,” there is no indication that they plan anything other than seeking asylum — a legal means of entry into the U.S.

Throughout Scripture we are called on to welcome the stranger, treat the alien among us as one of us and to not neglect hospitality. U.S. and international law call for migrants to be treated with dignity and their human rights protected. Therefore, we strongly urge the administration to:

• Allow migrants to approach the border and ask for the protection of the U.S., and then to be admitted and processed in a timely manner.
• Ensure that asylum seekers have access to legal counsel and receive a fair resolution.
• Keep together parents and children.
• Find more humane and cost-efficient alternatives to detention.
• Direct Homeland Security to cooperate with faith-based and humanitarian organizations who are assisting asylum-seekers.

U.S. independence was gained by individuals who fled persecution and a discriminatory class structure that made it difficult to rise above humble beginnings. Our economy has benefitted from the physical labor and intellectual contributions of those who came here from outside our borders. Our religious order, and many others here in the U.S., was founded by immigrant women who went on to serve all God’s people, not just those foreign-born. We will continue to serve all God’s people as our country’s history demands and our faith requires, and ask that you join us by contacting your member of Congress to ask for humane treatment of all migrants.

Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities is a congregation of more than 350 vowed women religious whose Franciscan spirit motivates us to serve God’s people with reverence, justice and compassion. The Sisters have region houses in Mt. Vernon, Syracuse, and Williamsville, New York; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Honolulu, Hawaii. We serve in more than 10 states as well as Kenya and Peru.