Signs of the Times

"

Detained Migrants Deserve Spiritual Care

Migrants and refugees in prisons and detention centers have the same right to spiritual assistance as any other person, a U.S. bishop told a Vatican meeting. Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration, told the Vatican’s World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees that Catholic dioceses and other groups have had difficulty gaining access to detainees for pastoral purposes. The growing number of people in U.S. detention centers has made the issue of access even more urgent. Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, Bishop Wester said, “The U.S. government has turned to the detention of immigrants as another weapon in the ‘war on terrorism.’” The government “detains over 280,000 persons a year, more than triple the number of those detained just nine years ago.” Because of increased security concerns, combined with an “onerous law” on immigration passed in 1996, the government in effect presumes undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers “should be incarcerated rather than released” while awaiting hearings on their status, Bishop Wester said.

Advertisement
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

If I had ever managed to find time to take the divinity school course on “Troubling New Testament Texts,” I would have lobbied to include today’s Gospel passage on the syllabus.
Elizabeth Kirkland CahillDecember 12, 2018
Why is bad news so much easier to believe than the good?
Terrance KleinDecember 12, 2018
The cardinal is the most senior churchman yet to be convicted of historical sexual offenses. His conviction is a grave blow not only to the church in Australia but also to Pope Francis.
Gerard O’ConnellDecember 12, 2018
Pope Francis has terminated the services of three cardinals who for the past five years were members of his council of nine cardinal advisors.
Gerard O’ConnellDecember 12, 2018