The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) declared “immoral” the immigration policy of separating migrant children from their parents on Wednesday.
“Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma. Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together,” USCCB’s president, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, announced at its biannual meeting in Fort Lauderdale, according to the Religion News Service .
“Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral,” DiNardo added in opening remarks at the large conference.
Last month, the Trump administration announced it would prosecute migrants crossing the border illegally, which involves separating migrant children from their parents.
DiNardo also read a statement criticizing Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMcCabe sues Justice Dept. over information about his firing Hillicon Valley: Judge approves AT&T-Time Warner deal in blow to DOJ | Dems renew push to secure state voting systems | Seattle reverses course on tax after Amazon backlash | Trump, senators headed for cyber clash | More Tesla layoffs Trump officials consider using tent cities to house unaccompanied minors MORE ‘ recent announcement of changes to asylum policy.
“At its core, asylum is an instrument to preserve the right to life,” DiNardo read. “The Attorney General’s recent decision elicits deep concern because it potentially strips asylum from many women who lack adequate protection.”
The group of bishops informally applauded the statement, according to RNS.
On Monday, Sessions announced that the Trump administration will stop granting asylum to victims of gang violence and domestic abuse.
“The mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes – such as domestic violence or gang violence – or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, cannot itself establish an asylum claim,” Sessions wrote in his decision .
Some bishops within the conference also called for protests against the administration’s policies. One bishop suggested placing “canonical penalties” on members of the denomination who participated in separating migrant families, RNS reported.