January 25, 2017
For Immediate Release
Contact: Fr. Sean Carroll, SJ
We at the Kino Border Initiative reaffirm our commitment to work toward binational solidarity and humane, just and workable migration policies, especially considering today’s executive actions that instead cause division, dehumanization, and injustice.
We are deeply concerned about the Trump Administration’s plan to dramatically expand border enforcement, including hiring an additional 5000 agents. Every day we receive our brothers and sisters who are deported to Nogales, Sonora and we witness firsthand the suffering caused by dramatic increases in border policing. In our 2015 report, Our Values on the Line, we found that one third of people surveyed have been subject to degrading treatment or abuse when detained by US Border Patrol. We have continued to see similar patterns and in the past 14 months have filed 45 complaints on behalf of migrants who report abuse to us. Dramatically and hastily expanding this agency without adequate training and accountability will only make the situation worse, not promote safety.
We also stress the urgency of the US responsibility to protect individuals fleeing violence. Every day, men, women and children who are forced to leave their homes arrive at our aid center and for many their only option to seek safety is to ask for asylum in the United States, much like the Holy Family had to flee to Egypt shortly after Jesus’ birth in order to protect Our Lord. The people we accompany to request asylum are already being routinely rejected by Customs and Border Protection officials, subject to harsh and unnecessarily prolonged detention, and given little access to due process in pursuing their legal claims. Today’s executive orders will only make their situation worse. Instead, our moral and religious principles urge us to welcome people seeking protection.
Rather than focusing solely on security, we must recommit ourselves to work with our brothers and sisters in other countries to address the reasons people migrate in the first place, especially the extreme poverty and violence that force people from their home communities. In his address to the U.S. Congress, Pope Francis in 2015 invited us “to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome.” Working toward peace, justice, and prosperity is a challenging task, but God calls us to this holy work, rather than to approaches that only sow division and cause more suffering.
The Kino Border Initiative (KBI) is a binational organization located in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. The KBI’s vision is to help make humane, just, workable migration between the U.S. and Mexico a reality.