U.S. Catholic bishops have upped their criticism of Donald Trump's administration's immigration policies, calling new asylum-limiting rules "immoral" and rhetorically comparing the crackdown to abortion by saying it is a "a right to life" issue.
One bishop from the U.S.-Mexico border region reportedly suggested "canonical penalties," which could refer to withholding the sacrament of Communion, for Catholics involved in implementing the Trump policies, The Independent from London reported.
More than 300 Catholic bishops from across the United States gathered have issued a strong political statement against several immigration policies of the administration of U.S. Donald Trump administration.
Monsignor. J. Brian Bransfield read a statement on behalf of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, saying the bishops take issue with Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to limit asylum seekers who are fleeing domestic abuse or gang violence from trying to stay in the U.S. CBS Miami reported.
"These vulnerable women will now face return to the extreme dangers of domestic violence in their home country. This decision negates decades of precedence that have provided protection to women fleeing domestic violence," Blandsfield read.
The bishops also said the Trump administration's policy of separating parents from their children at the U.S.-Mexico border needs to stop.
"Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma," he said. "Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together.
"Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral," Blansfield said.
After the statement was read, Cardinal DiNardo asked the crowd of bishops: "Brothers, do I have your support for this statement?"
There was applause.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in an interview several days ago that it's the law.
"That's why they're separated," she said. "They're breaking the law. They're coming across the border and they're breaking the law. In the United States, if you break the law, you go to jail and you're separated from your family."
The Archbishop of Miami, Thomas Wenski, said the church should urge Catholics to vote for candidates who want fair and humane immigration reform.
"We have to tell our parishioners to call them out and hold them accountable," Wenski said.