Caring for children must not be a political issue

The unfolding crisis on our border demands our immediate attention, prayers, and compassion. The reported condition of some children as young as 5 months old is deeply disturbing.

I know there are many people who are extremely passionate about the issue of immigration and have very different perspectives. I also recognize that some of my previous posts on immigration have raised sharp disagreement among those who read and responded to them. I also firmly believe that we are a nation of laws, and that we must abide by those laws to ensure our country’s safety and sustainability for all. But my friends, we cannot turn our backs while young people are suffering and at risk, regardless of who they are and where they have come from.

No child should sleep on a cement floor without a blanket. No child should lack basic necessities like soap or toothpaste, whether they are immigrants or were born in this country and live in our cities and neighborhoods. The fact that children are experiencing such deprivation must motivate us to immediately address their personal needs without hesitation.

Caring for children must not be a political issue. It is a humanitarian issue. It is a life issue.

Though I very much agree that comprehensive, humane, and just immigration reform is needed in this country, that is not the question here. Nor is it of importance who started this policy or when. What is important is that you and I make a commitment to stand up for our common values as Americans, and most importantly, as Catholics.

During this time of crisis we must reflect on the words of Jesus when he said, “Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’”

Let us never forget that the Child of Bethlehem was born into poverty and was himself a refugee in Egypt. Now He asks his disciples to ensure that no child need suffer in the same way.

The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos.