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Statement of the Community of Sant’Egidio on the Separation of Migrant Children from their Parents

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We the Community of Sant’Egidio, a lay movement of the Catholic Church, support the end to the policy of separating migrant children from their parents and urgently call for the reunification of all families already separated at the United States border. We are deeply saddened and concerned for the lives of these children, and all children, who suffer the heartbreaking trauma of separation and loss due to the injustice of poverty, fragility or conflict.

4747This upcoming Friday June 22nd, the Community of Sant’Egidio in New York City will host a Prayer vigil at 6:30 pm at Old St. Patrick (273 Mott Street, New York, NY 10012). All are welcome to join us at this prayer for the children and their parents, and we will also recall the thousands of migrants and refugees who have lost their lives searching for a better and safer future.

Already, this past Tuesday June 19th, the Community of Sant’Egidio in Washington DC held a Prayer vigil remembering the names of these migrants. Other prayers and moments of reflection will take place in the whole country during the next weeks. This mobilization sees Sant’Egidio united with the many who in these hours are expressing their outcry for what is happening, and especially with Pope Francis who has been very clear on the duty of welcome.

Our faith and our consciences call us to strive for more compassionate immigration practices that respect the inherent dignity of each person who leaves his or her homeland in search of safety, security or prosperity. We echo the words of Pope Francis who said, “the issue of migration is not simply one of numbers, but of persons, each with his or her own history, culture, feelings and aspirations…We must move from considering others as threats to our comfort to valuing them as persons whose life experience and values can contribute greatly to the enrichment of our society.”

We call attention to the hopeful experience of our community in creating Humanitarian Corridors for refugees and asylum seekers in Europe together in partnership with other faith-based organizations, NGOs, and governments. Through this pilot initiative, refugee families and individuals from Syria, Ethiopia and Iraq have found safe and legal passage into Italy, France, Belgium, Andorra and the Republic of San Marino. They are rebuilding their lives with the help of supportive initiatives in host communities. Humanitarian Corridors is not a one-size-fits-all solution to our current migration and forced displacement crisis, but a beacon of hope to what can be accomplished.

Indeed, our experience as the Community of Sant’Egidio—in building peace and working for justice across the globe—has taught us that a better world is possible. It takes commitment to partnership, dialogue, and ingenuity. We call on U.S. elected officials, civil society, and all people of good faith to work together and seek creative pathways toward more just and compassionate immigration policies and practices. And we invite everyone to reflect on the life and words of Jesus who said: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.”

 

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