Bishop: Migrants in detention have right to spiritual care

Catholic News Service reports that Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration, told the Vatican’s World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees migrants and refugees in prisons and detention centers have the same right to spiritual assistance as any other person.

Increased security concerns combined with an “onerous law” on immigration passed in 1996 has meant, in effect, that the government presumes undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers “should be incarcerated rather than released” while awaiting hearings on their status, he said.

Representatives of Jesuit Refugee Service and others “have found that detainees in the United States do not have access to religious literature, such as the Bible or Quran,” he said, and they seldom have access to a religious leader from their own faith.

Read the story here.

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