FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 27, 2019
STATEMENT FROM BISHOP NICHOLAS DIMARZIO ON
THE ESCALATING IMMIGRATION CRISIS
The Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, today issued the following comments regarding the state of affairs related to U.S. immigration policy:
“As someone who has worked to address issues surrounding immigration policy for 50 years, I find the current state of affairs to be at one of the lowest points I have ever seen. As a Nation, we are regressing and failing to treat people like human beings with the dignity and respect they each deserve.
Reports from the U.S. border of children living in inhumane conditions at detention facilities, without basic life essentials like toothbrushes, soap or access to showers, are appalling. It is not the way to treat anyone, but especially children. They are being traumatized. It is bad enough that many detained children will likely suffer long term consequences from the way in which they were separated from their parents. But add deplorable living conditions to that and it is too much for anyone to bear, especially children.
More than three years ago, we saw a drowned Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi wash up ashore in Turkey. This week, we are seeing the image of a dead father, Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his daughter, Valeria, who drowned in the Rio Grande trying to cross the border. A picture is worth a thousand words. We are descending to a place where it is the norm to lack compassion for people seeking a better life. Why would a parent put their family and themselves at risk if they were not desperate? These pictures cry out for the urgent need for comprehensive immigration reform; but for that to happen, we need both parties to come to the table and put their partisan politics aside.
I call on Congress to come together to agree on a supplemental border funding bill immediately. We must bring an end to the existence of these disgraceful conditions faced by those detained at the U.S. border.
Furthermore, in response to threats of mass deportations, these tactics are heartless and provide no real solution. Many people in our communities who are now living in fear of ICE agents have been in the country for a long time and some have American born children. Most work and pay taxes.
I call on all Catholics in our diocese and beyond to pray for our fellow citizens of the world. Every single one of us is made in the image of God and no one should ever forget that.”