Arnulfo Moreno, Media Relations Specialist for Bread for the World, knows what the humanitarian crisis at the border firsthand from his own family experience. His father, Jose Arnulfo Moreno Machado, left El Salvador to escape the violence during the civil war to search for a better opportunity to provide for his family. He crossed the border into the United States as an unaccompanied child. Today the civil war has ended, but violence continues to ravage his father’s homeland due to gangs, the drug trade, hunger and poverty. Tens of thousands of unaccompanied children, just like his father years ago, are again making the perilous trip to the United States. They are refugees and we need to welcome them into our country rather than deport them.
Catholic Social Teaching is clear in stating our responsibilities. Pacem In Terris (1963) by St. John XXIII says in paragraphs 103-108, “There are some political regimes which do not guarantee for individual citizens a sufficient sphere of freedom within which their souls are allowed to breathe humanly; in fact, under those regimes even the lawful existence of such a sphere of freedom is either called into question or denied. This undoubtedly is a radical inversion of the order of human society, because the reason for the existence of public authority is to promote the common good. Such exiles are persons and all their rights must be recognized.” Refugees have the right to enter another political community where they can more fittingly provide a future. It is the duty of the state of entry to accept them and to help them integrate as new members of their society. The principles of human solidarity and Christian charity aim to make migration of persons from one country to another less painful.
This past week, Elizabeth Heule and I joined a public demonstration organized by Cross Border Network and Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates just outside the Uptown Theatre in Kansas City where President Obama spoke. Our Catholic faith calls us to do what we can. Please pray for those refugees at our borders and do what you can to promote charity and justice on this issue.
Daryl Charron, C.PP.S.