When campaigning for the presidency, now President Biden promised a more compassionate border policy for those seeking to enter the United States. As Catholics we have particular concern for the immigrant. In her social teaching the Church maintains, based on the dignity of each human person, that insofar as possible countries should be generous in welcoming immigrants. She also maintains that nations have the duty to regulate their borders and to control immigration for the sake of the common good. Balancing these two principles requires strong leadership and prudent policies.
In December 2020, the New York Times warned that “swiftly reversing Trump administration policies could be construed as opening the floodgates, risking a rush to the border that could quickly devolve into a humanitarian crisis.” In February 2021, President Biden signed executive orders meant to reform Trump era policies. These policy changes have had the opposite effect. Combined with his administration’s rhetoric we now have a crisis at the border.
Of the increased number of immigrants at the border there are now record numbers of unaccompanied teens and children in U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities. In other words, there are “kids in cages” at our border. It should be no surprise that politicians use rhetoric and exaggeration for political gain. Unfortunately, empty words and sweeping promises have real word effects. The current administration needs to act to fix the humanitarian crisis it started.