Tomorrow afternoon we will be standing in unison with Pope Francis as he celebrates mass on the US – Mexico border where people will be gathered to pray on both sides of the fence that divides many immigrant families. ECCO leaders and 29 co-sponsoring organizations will protest at the offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) this Wednesday Feb. 17 at 3:30PM.
While visiting Philadelphia, Pope Francis’ declared, “Families have a citizenship that is divine. The identity card that they have is given to them by God.” This statement, as well as many others about the dignity of immigrant families, has inspired ECCO Catholic leaders to respond to the ongoing separation of immigrant families by hosting this prayer and protest at ICE.
It will take place tomorrow, Wednesday at 3:30PM at 10 New England Executive Park, Burlington, MA.
At this action, ECCO will call for a moratorium on deportations. In addition, ECCO opposes any 287(g) agreements between ICE and local law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts and in particular, the request, currently pending, by the Sheriff’s Departments of Essex and Plymouth Counties to establish such agreements. If signed, these agreements would increase the number of immigrant families being destroyed by deportation.
Between 2005 and 2010, 87% of cases involving undocumented immigrants with U.S. citizen children ended in deportation. Of all children in U.S. public schools, 6.9% are children of undocumented parents and 82% of those children are U.S. citizens. The Congressional mandate that sets a bed quota requiring Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain 34,000 undocumented immigrants on any given night fuels the destruction of immigrant families. ICE is the only law enforcement agency that is subject to a national quota system for incarceration.
ECCO congregations work to uphold the dignity of every human being and we are committed to standing with and defending those most vulnerable among us. We lament the fear and pain being inflicted on undocumented people in our communities and throughout the nation.
Please join us tomorrow at 3:30 at the ICE office 10 New England Executive Park, Burlington, MA.
Fr. Brian Flynn