November 27, 2018
Media Contact: Janine Walsh
Franciscan Action Network Appalled By Tear-Gassing At The Border
“Photos of children separated from their parents were shocking enough, but now we are at a loss to describe our outrage at seeing photos of mothers and children running from tear gas fired by U.S. agents at a border crossing,” states Sr. Margaret Magee, OSF, president of Franciscan Action Network (FAN). “With other people of faith, and even non-believers, we Franciscans have a profound respect for human life. We are horrified to watch asylum seekers being choked by tear gas on the southern border. We recall our sacred scriptures commanding us to welcome strangers, care for those who are poor, love others as God loves us.”
Use of tear gas is outlawed in war, but legal within countries. But what is legal can be profoundly inhumane and immoral. It is not a crime for people fleeing from violence in their home countries to seek asylum at a designated point of entry into the United States. It is a legal, human right to seek asylum in this country by presenting yourself at the border and requesting it. While not all people seeking asylum will be granted it, an orderly asylum process must be restored. The Trump Administration has used asylum seekers as a political tool to promote policies of exclusion which has created the deplorable chaos at the border.
We Franciscans cannot remain silent. We must loudly speak out against the actions that President Trump ordered, allowing children and woman to be tear gassed at our borders. These are God’s children and our brothers and sisters who are fleeing government corruption, extreme poverty, and rampant violence in their home countries. Tear-gassing is the complete antithesis of the democratic principles of this country, and of our Franciscan Christian teachings and values. We call on members of Congress to stop the administration’s violations of law and human dignity and rights. Congress must restore an orderly asylum process and demand that the administration stop its inhumane and illegal treatment of asylum seekers.