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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Trump moves will ‘tear families apart,’ harm communities, says US bishop

The chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Migration criticised President Donald Trump’s executive memorandum to construct a wall along the US-Mexico border, saying it would “put immigrant lives needlessly in harm’s way.”

The Bishop of Austin, Texas, Joe Vasquez, who is also chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Migration, also criticised Trump’s memorandum on a surge in immigrant detention and deportation forces, saying it would “tear families apart and spark fear and panic in communities.”

Trump signed the two executive memorandums on national security on 25th January during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security.

Earlier, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the wall, a cornerstone of Trump’s election campaign, would “stem the flow of drugs, crime and illegal immigration” along the southern border. He also said Trump’s top priority was the nation’s security.

But hours later, Bishop Vasquez issued a statement saying that construction of the wall would ‘make migrants, especially vulnerable women and children, more susceptible to traffickers and smugglers. Additionally, the construction of such a wall destabilises the many vibrant and beautifully interconnected communities that live peacefully along the border.

‘Instead of building walls, at this time, my brother bishops and I will continue to follow the example of Pope Francis. We will ‘look to build bridges between people, bridges that allow us to break down the walls of exclusion and exploitation’.’

Picture: A framed picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe is seen at a house near the US-Mexico border fence in 2016 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. President Donald Trump enacted two executive memorandums to deal with security, including one that calls for construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border. (CNS photo/Jose Luis Gonzalez, Reuters).