Owensboro Bishop Encouraging Humanitarian Treatment of Refugee Families

Jun 21, 2018

The separation of children from their families at America’s southern border that created a tide of outrage was reversed by President Donald Trump’s executive order on Wednesday. The Catholic bishop in Owensboro said that separation of families was disturbing.

Bishop William Medley of the Diocese of Owensboro said while Kentucky may be far away from the Mexican border,  taking children from parents who are refugees created a humanitarian crisis that reflected on all Americans.

“My first thought honestly was this cannot be my country," said Bishop Medley. "Yes, we need border laws and yes, we need immigration laws, but it just seems to me that there are lines we don’t cross, and the intentional separation of families seems like one of those lines that we just don’t cross.”

Bishop Medley said the disturbing situation crossed a moral line and he encourages those who are concerned about the refugee crisis to take action, both personally and publicly.

“Well, as a religious leader I’m going to say the first thing we do is pray for people whose lives are being ruptured by these events. But then also I think we all have to act on the behalf of justice and call upon our legislators to fix this.”

Bishop Medley said while the situation at the border is different from the few cases he’s heard of in the Owensboro Diocese where immigrants have been deported and had to leave  families behind, he finds a growing sense of fear among immigrants in the western Kentucky region.

"The wives or the children who are left when a husband and a father has been deported don't come out of the shadows for fear of what might happen to them or the people with whom they're staying," said Bishop Medley. 

"Overall, what I'm hearing from the thousands and thousands of Hispanics that live in western Kentucky is a lot of fear and a very low morale. The rhetoric we hear from so many quarters, that's dehumanizing and that's troubling," said Bishop Medley. "I'm proud to be a voice in the church that speaks up and says we have to agree on some lines we won't cross."