Over the past several days the news has been dominated by stories of the unconscionable practice of separating parents and children for those entering the nation illegally and seeking political asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. Since early April more than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents and sent to holding cells.
The outrage over this situation has grown on both sides of the political aisle, yet this is not a blue or red issue but rather one that is black and white. Separating children from their parents is both inhumane and immoral and goes directly against our core values as a Catholic, Jesuit institution. While an executive order issued on June 20 may change the dynamics that has led to separations, it is important to keep pressure on those who influence immigration policy. The fate of roughly 2,300 children currently separated from their parents is still unknown.
We the undersigned are currently participating or have participated in the Ignatian Colleagues Program (ICP), an 18-month leadership formation experience for administrators and faculty of Jesuit institutions run by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. ICP is made up of five integrated components designed to establish ongoing conversations through face-to-face cohort gatherings, online learning opportunities, an Ignatian retreat, an international immersion experience and a capstone project.
Several of us traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border in Nogales, Ariz. for our immersion trip, while most others went to countries that many individuals seeking asylum in the U.S. are coming from. We saw firsthand the living conditions and gritty reality facing men, women and children at the border and elsewhere, and came to appreciate the complex and deep-seated issues that are at the root of this situation. The families we observed were not infesting our country but came seeking a new life for their children and themselves, the very same life so many of our ancestors sought throughout the centuries.
As members of a Jesuit institution we cannot and will not remain silent in regard to this horrific situation affecting the lives of so many innocent children. And we ask that through your actions you show the world that we are truly "women and men for and with others." The outcry has been growing and has resulted in numerous protests, official statements from elected officials and religious leaders, and fundraising drives. In denouncing what is taking place, these individuals and groups are trying to put pressure on the administration and Congress to take steps to rectify the situation.
This story by James Martin, S.J. in America Magazine
provides an overview of what can be done, ranging from simply becoming better informed to donating money that will help those in peril.
Father Martin, in another article in America,
states: "It is not biblical to treat migrants and refugees like animals. It is not biblical to take children away from their parents. It is not biblical to ignore the needs of the stranger. It is not biblical to enforce unjust laws. The Bible should not be used to justify sin. It should also be clear where Jesus stands on these questions. Jesus stands where he always stands and where we should stand: with the poor and marginalized."
Please join us in this effort.
Shawn Ward, associate professor of psychology
George Kulick, assistant professor of business administration
Monica Sylvia, associate professor of psychology
Joe Della Posta, director of communications
Matt Bassett, assistant vice president and director of athletics
Deb Cady Melzer, vice president for student development
Mark Godleski, associate dean for student development
Roger Stackpoole, senior vice president for finance and administration
Pete Killian, associate vice president for marketing
Bill Brower, vice president for communications and advancement
Linda LeMura, president
Tom Brockleman, professor of philosophy
Allison Farrell, assistant dean for student success
Theresa Beaty, associate professor of chemistry
Shaun Black, senior director of information technology