By Barb Fraze Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) — Church leaders in the United States and Mexico acknowledged the need for governments to keep their country secure but said two recent U.S. presidential actions could endanger the lives of immigrants and split border communities.
President Donald Trump called for construction of an “impassable physical barrier” along the United States’ southern border because “continued illegal immigration presents a clear and present danger to the interests of the United States.”
He called for increased enforcement and the withdrawal of federal funds from cities and states that do not comply.
The presidential actions, signed Jan. 25 at the Department of Homeland Security, brought an immediate stream of reactions from church officials, as a group and as individuals. Many cited Pope Francis’ call to build bridges and break down walls.
Representatives of the bishops in the United States and Mexico, who have been working on this issue for 20 years, said the answer was comprehensive immigration reform, not a wall.
Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration, said Trump’s actions would “tear families apart and spark fear and panic in communities.”