“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” — Statue of Liberty
Today, there is a caravan of people who are seeking asylum, seeking freedom from violence, seeking a safe place to raise children. These people are families; elderly, young people who are hoping to live their lives. They don’t want to leave their countries, their homes, their families, their friends, all that is familiar to them to come to an unknown land where they do not speak the language, do not know the customs. Many are unable to read and write. They don’t know what our immigration policies are. All they know is that they are in danger and they have heard that our shores will give them a place to be safe.
They arrive and find that they are not welcome if they haven’t filled out the necessary asylum petitions and often are placed in detention centers until the paperwork can be completed. Families are held for indefinite periods of time in detention centers. Children have been separated from their parents.
We have done better for immigrants in the past and we must do better for the immigrants who are seeking solace on our shores. Our administration needs to manage refugee arrivals humanely and in a dignified manner, respecting each person and their rights under U.S. and international law.
We must life our lamp beside the golden door and help those who seek safety find it on our shores.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania is a congregation of vowed religious women, agregees and associates who minister in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania. The congregation is part of the U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph which includes more than 4,203 sisters, 28 agregees, and 3,032 associates.