Washington, D.C. – In response to Pope Francis’s visit to the U.S. Mexico Border, NETWORK Executive Director and leader of Nuns on the Bus Sister Simone Campbell said,
“Almost three years after NETWORK’s 2013 Nuns on the Bus trip for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, I am anguished that our immigration system is still broken.
Yesterday, Pope Francis’s visit to the border reminded us all that ‘this crisis, which can be measured in numbers and statistics, we want to instead measure with names, stories, families.’ He challenged us with a call to conversion. We as a nation and as a people must turn away from fear and hate.
As I reflect on our 2013 Nuns on the Bus journey, I am reminded of the people we met, like Angelina in North Carolina, who was driving her three young children to school one morning when she was rear-ended by another driver. Immediately, she was placed in the back of a police car and taken away; her small frightened children left alone with police officers.
During our 2015 Nuns on the Bus trip in advance of Pope Francis’s visit to the United States, we met 15 year-old Katherine, her four younger siblings, and her grandmother in Kansas City. Katherine’s parents had been deported months earlier, and she has been left caring for her younger siblings and her elderly grandmother. Katherine shared a heartbreaking story with us that her 11 year-old sister Stephanie had been so distraught that she attempted suicide, thinking her absence would be a lesser burden on the family.
I weep for mothers like Angelina and children like Katherine and Stephanie. Their stories are much too common. Families are driven out of their homes by violence and economic tyranny. We must recognize that U.S. policies have contributed to their reasons for fleeing their homelands.
NETWORK agrees with Pope Francis that, ‘The human tragedy that is forced migration is a global phenomenon today.’ The U.S. must do its part to address the push factors of migration, end violence at the Border, stop family separation, and welcome our immigrant sisters and brothers out of the shadows.
Immigration battles are looming in every branch of government and hotly contested in presidential debates. NETWORK calls on the Administration to end its dangerous detention and deportation practices, on Congress to pass immigration reform, on the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the U.S. in U.S. v Texas, and on all those who aspire to elected office to stop the fear-based rhetoric. Our nation must respond to this migration crisis and, as Pope Francis challenges us, welcome the stranger.”
NETWORK, a national Catholic Social Justice lobby, which educates, organizes, and lobbies for economic and social transformation, has a more than 40-year track record of lobbying for critical federal programs that support those at the margins and prioritize the common good.