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

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

It is astonishing to think that God would choose to enter the world this way: as a fragile newborn who could not even hold up his own head without help.
Ginny Kubitz MoyerOctober 20, 2017
Protestors rally to support Temporary Protected Status near the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Sept. 26. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
Around 200,000 Salvadorans and 57,000 Hondurans have been residing in the United States for more than 15 years under Temporary Protected Status. But that status is set to expire in early 2018.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 20, 2017
At the heart of Anne Frank’s life and witness is a hopeful faith in humanity.
Leo J. O'Donovan, S.J.October 20, 2017
Forensic police work on the main road in Bidnija, Malta, which leads to Daphne Caruana Galizias house, looking for evidence on the blast that killed the journalist as she was leaving her home, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Caruana Galizia, a harsh critic of Maltese Premier Joseph Muscat, and who reported extensively on corruption on Malta, was killed by a car bomb on Monday. (AP Photo/Rene Rossignaud)
Rarely does the death of a private citizen elicit a formal letter of condolence from the Pope.