Leadership Team statement on treatment of immigrant children
The General Council of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, has issued the following statement concerning the treatment of immigrant children at the border between the United States and Mexico:
We denounce in the strongest possible terms the unconscionable mistreatment of children on the U.S.-Mexican border while in U.S. custody, and call on our elected leaders to take all measures necessary to provide them with adequate food, shelter, and healthcare – and, most importantly, to reunite them with their families.
Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14).
That children “such as these” – infants, toddlers, youngsters – reportedly have been subject to horrific overcrowding, hunger, lice infestations, sleeping on concrete floors, and other unhygienic and inhumane conditions is an assault on our human decency and fundamental moral values. It should have all Americans, as the prophets of old, rending our garments and weeping in anguish at the depravity.
All people, regardless of their country of origin or legal status, are made in the image of God and should be treated with dignity and respect. Recent reports of overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in a facility in Clint, Texas, are appalling and unacceptable for any person in U.S. custody, but particularly for children, who are uniquely vulnerable. Such conditions cannot be used as tools of deterrence. We can and must remain a country that provides refuge for children and families fleeing violence, persecution, and acute poverty.
It is not enough that children at the facility in Clint, Texas, are being moved to other facilities after the spotlight of public attention has exposed the scandalous way this Administration is treating these migrant children. What other facilities are holding children under similarly harsh conditions? These and other children must be reunited with their parents or with relatives residing in the United States who must be able to claim them safely.
As members of Congress take steps to address the urgent humanitarian crisis on the border created by this Administration’s cruel approach to immigration, the top priority must be to ensure the welfare and wellbeing of God’s beloved – children such as these – now and into the future.
Members of the General Council of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods are:
Sister Dawn Tomaszewski, General Superior,
Sister Lisa Stallings, Vicar and General Councilor, and
Sisters Mary Beth Klingel, Jeanne Hagelskamp and Jenny Howard, General Councilors