By Jennifer Owens-Jofré
I have compiled a list of resources about the separation of migrant children from their parents that have been helpful to me in discerning steps forward on this issue. In the list below, I follow the model of the pastoral circle, which has its roots in Catholic social teaching and social movements. Wrote John XXIII in Mater et Magistra,
“There are three stages which should normally be followed in the reduction of social principles into practice. First, one reviews the concrete situation; secondly, one forms a judgment on it in the light of these same principles; thirdly, one decides what in the circumstances can and should be done to implement these principles. These are the three stages that are usually expressed in the three terms: look, judge, act (#236).”
In seeing, we learn about the reality of the situation. In judging, we make a discerning assessment of how to respond to that reality. In acting, we take steps to address it. For my own part, I am making a commitment to urge my civic and church leaders to bring the weight of their positions to bear on this issue, that we would bring an end to this practice of separating families at the border and atone for this national sin.
A PBS piece on these conditions
A CNN piece about the circumstances under which children are being separated from their parents
NPR coverage of the impact these separations are having on the health of these children
CNBC coverage of Sarah Sanders discussing how separation of children from their parents along the border is biblical
The Washington Post’s coverage of Jeff Sessions’ biblical justification for the separation of families along the border
UPDATE (Monday, 25 June 2018): New York Times article on preparations being made to detain up to 20,000 migrants on military bases
UPDATE (Monday, 25 June 2018): NYT opinion piece “What My 6-Year-Old Son and I Endured in Family Detention”
Theologian Anthea Butler’s response to Sarah Sanders and Jeff Sessions
Theologian Candida Moss’ response to Jeff Sessions
A Washington Post piece on America’s history of separating children from their parents
The National Catholic Reporter‘s series on this issue
The Hill’s coverage of the president of the USCCB’s take on this reality
The USCCB’s description of the seven themes of Catholic social teaching
St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Prayer to Know God’s Will
UPDATE (Monday, 25 June 2018): NYT Opinion Columnist Charles M. Blow on “White Extinction Anxiety”and the immigration debate
UPDATE (Monday, 25 June 2018): PICO California needs donations to keep its community organizing efforts on these issues thriving; consider making a donation today. Continue calling your Reps and your Senators to urge them to pass just and humane legislation like the Keep Families Together Act (see below for more information).
UPDATE (Wednesday, 20 June 2018): Families Belong Together has information about public witnesses happening around the country on Saturday, 30 June 2018. If you can’t march in Washington, DC, but feel called to do something public, click through their website to find a solidarity gathering in your area. Keep calling your Reps and your Senators (see below for more info about how) to register your concern about what is happening on the border.
UPDATE (Tuesday, 19 June 2018): Hope Border Institute and NETWORK Lobby are encouraging us to call our Representatives to discourage them from supporting HR 4760 and Speaker Ryan’s bill because this legislation does not effectively reunify separated families, nor does it adequately meet the needs of DREAMers. Call your Reps today at (202) 225-3121; this number will connect you to your Rep’s office. If you’re not sure what to say, here is a suggested script.
Professor Neomi De Anda’s suggestions of tools for action
Suggestions for action from the Editorial Board of the New York Times
Petition that will be delivered to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen
Jim Martin, SJ’s America piece on five things we can do to help immigrants at the border
Text of the Keep Families Together Act in the Senate
List of cosponsors of the Keep Families Together Act in the Senate
The phone number for the Capitol Switchboard is (202) 224-3121. Calling it will connect you with your two Senators, even if you aren’t sure who they are. If your Senator supports the Keep Families Together Act, you can call to thank her. If she doesn’t, you can call to encourage her to express her support for it.
Text of the Child Citizen Protection Act (H.R. 2508) would allow judges to decline any order separating a non-citizen parent from a citizen child.
Text of the HELP Separated Children Act (H.R. 5950) would require states to provide separated children with foster care through welfare agencies or community organizations and require DHS personnel to undergo child welfare training.
Call your Congressional House Representative about these two bills. If you don’t have her name and number handy, call the Congressional Switchboard at (202) 225-3121.
Donation page for the National Immigration Law Center
RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education Legal Services)
—Jennifer Owens-Jofré is a Catholic theologian in formation writing from a mujerista perspective at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. She studied Sociology and Peace Studies as an undergraduate at Loyola Marymount University, and she graduated with a Master of Arts in Teaching from the same institution. Soon after, Jennifer earned her Master of Divinity from Harvard University. Having worked in Catholic contexts across the United States, she also offers professional development opportunities for those in ministry. Currently, Jennifer is working on her dissertation, which explores the implications of devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe at a Latinx Catholic parish in the greater Los Angeles area for Mariology and ministry.