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It Is Time to Build Bridges, Not Walls

February 8, 2017 — We, the Central American Province of the Society of Jesus, the Provincial Committee for the Social Apostolate, and the Jesuit Migration Network of Central America express our concern and our total rejection of the immigration measures announced in the last few weeks by the President of the United States, such as the increased border security, the suspension of the right to request asylum, the increase in the number of detention centers and expedited removal procedures, and the prohibition against entry by persons of various nationalities, among others.

The Executive Orders issued by the Trump Administration constitute grave violations of human rights and “represent a policy directed toward stigmatizing and criminalizing migrants or any other person perceived as a migrant,” as recognized by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in its statement of February 1 of this year. Their implementation has no effect other than to worsen the crisis and the vulnerability of the thousands of Central American men and women, who feel themselves forced to leave their home countries because these countries do not offer to them the minimal conditions needed to be able to live a life of dignity and, in many cases, even for them to save their lives.

We add our voices to the denunciations by our fellow Jesuits in Canada and the United States who consider these orders to be an affront to our mission as the Society of Jesus and an assault on Christian values. We are in unity with them when they express solidarity with our migrant brothers and sisters, when they reaffirm their decision not to give in to fear and to continue their long tradition of defending and accompanying migrants and refugees, no matter their place of origin or religious beliefs.

In a time of walls and division, we feel called to build bridges between persons, cultures and societies, to lift our voices and to work together so that all the Central and North American countries respect human rights and the principle of human dignity, celebrate their differences, and foster a culture of hospitality and brotherhood.

To read the statements of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, click here and here.

 



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America 2/20/17

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