DUBUQUE — The Catholic Archdiocese of Dubuque is asking all members to donate to a border crisis relief fund.
This comes after tens of thousands of immigrant children have crossed the U.S. Mexican border since last fall, many of them unattended.
Once arrested, they’re housed at border patrol facilities filled past capacity, waiting to be extradited out of the U.S.
The Archdiocese of Dubuque says its mission spreads well beyond the four walls of a church. That’s why leaders say helping illegal immigrant children is something they must do.
Tracy Morrison, Executive Director of Catholic Charities said, “We expect everybody to be treated with dignity and respect. It doesn’t matter which end of the immigration debate you are on.”
Last month, federal authorities said more than 100 children who crossed the border had been settled in Iowa, most with sponsors — which are typically family members.
The Obama Administration says the federal government no longer wants to place the children with foster families. Instead the children are living in large group homes and shelters.
Morrison said, “It’s certainly not the best approach for children. They need to be in a family environment and with other adults.”
But that change in policy isn’t stopping Ken Bichell. He’s heading up a group whose goal is to bring 100 undocumented children to live with families in Dubuque.
Bichell said, “At this point there is no pathway to bring children to Dubuque. But it’s a fluid situation. The numbers are increasing as the numbers change the pathways may change as well.”
In the meantime, the group is focusing its effort on education.
“I feel that if we can spread it out, I feel like it’s the patriot thing to do. Bring children into other parts of our country and treat them humanely,” said Bichell.