City council, archbishop react to DHS policy that separates children from parents at border

City council, archbishop react to DHS policy that separates children from parents at border
The New Orleans City Council issued a statement regarding the immigration policy that separates families at the border. (Source: City of New Orleans)

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The New Orleans City Council and the Archbishop of New Orleans are reacting to the Department of Homeland Security enforcement of a policy that forcefully separates immigrant children from their parents at the border.

A statement issued on behalf of the council by Vice President Helena Moreno demanded an end to the policy.

"The Trump Administration is perpetrating a heartless violation of human rights right here in America," said Council Vice President Helena Moreno. "These innocent children are being terrorized in our name, and I simply won't stand for it. This evil must stop immediately, and these children must be reunited with their parents without delay."

New Orleans City Council President Jason Williams echoed Moreno's statement.

"I will continue to publicly condemn the Trump administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions' enforcement of their new immigration policy to separate families," said Council President Jason Williams. "Forcibly separating children from parents as a matter of course is inhumane and unnecessary, and as an African American and a descendant of American slaves, this policy is evocative of some of darkest days in this countries young history. This policy is truly self-inflicted wound, and like many we have seen from the current administration, is antithetical to American values and basic humanity."

The council's resolution calls for an end to this policy and immediate reunification for those children separated. Copies will be sent to the entire Louisiana Congressional Delegation, the Attorney General, and the President.

Archbishop Gregory Aymond released the following statement regarding the policy:

In the last 6 weeks, nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their parents at the Texas border. Separating children from their parents often leads to long-term emotional scarring. Particularly for these families who are already in a state of anxiety and fear, the impact on both the children and the parents, will no doubt be long-lasting. As a people of faith, we must speak out for these children.

The teaching of the Catholic Church is that if a person is experiencing injustice, persecution, or danger, they have a human right to find a place of security in which to begin a new life. We believe in the dignity of the human person and the preservation of the family. Nations are encouraged to create laws that will allow legal immigration in a just way. As a church we have never suggested, “Open our borders – all are welcome”, yet countries must regulate their borders with justice and mercy. We believe immigration should be guided by laws that show charity while providing safety and security. Our current immigration laws are not guided by these principles and are not fair or just.

Let us recall the principle in Jewish law and the teaching of Jesus, “Do to others what you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). We are called to pray for those unjustly treated and to be a voice for them. I invite all people of good will to join me in prayer for our sisters and brothers and to act on their behalf by contacting our government officials and urging them to stop these dehumanizing practices and make a sincere effort towards comprehensive immigration.

Around 30 people holding signs gathered across the street from the Convention Center Monday to protest the policy as well as U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions who was addressing the nation's sheriffs. Five protesters were detained on Convention Center property. They were given a court summons for trespassing.

DHS officials report more than 1,995 children have been taken from their migrant parents at the border over a six week period. Many are being detained at warehouse facilities along the border.

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