San Angelo Catholic Bishop Offers Assistance to Immigrants Housed at Goodfellow Air Force BasePress Release
SAN ANGELO, TX — (Press Release) On June 25, it was announced that Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo had been selected as one of two military installations in Texas that would house migrants detained under current immigration policies. It is expected that those detained at Goodfellow AFB will largely be minors who crossed the border unaccompanied by adult family members.
Bishop Michael Sis of the Diocese of San Angelo released the following statement about the news that San Angelo will be the location of an underage migrant detention facility: “On Monday, June 25, 2018, the federal government announced that they intend to house unaccompanied illegal immigrant male children on the grounds of Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo. “While very little information is currently available, I have learned the following from a variety of sources
- The youth will be housed in air conditioned tents with wooden floors.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will provide food, medical care, and education for them, through the use of a private contractor.
- While the land has not yet been prepared for the construction of the tents, I understand that they intend to be operational by the end of July 2018.
- The facility will have its own separate gate, and it will be surrounded by its own fence within the property of the Air Force Base.
“The Catholic Church of this area stands willing to assist with the spiritual needs of the residents, and we are also willing to offer any other volunteer charitable services that are allowed by the administrators of the detention center. Our clergy and volunteers are able to communicate with the residents in Spanish.” On June 25, Bishop Sis participated in a prayer vigil on the steps of the Tom Green County Courthouse in San Angelo. The purpose of the vigil was to pray for those families who have been separated after entering the United States.
While calling for compassion and kindness to the migrants to be detained at the facility, Bishop Sis offered the following prayer:
"Lord God, we praise you and we thank you for the chance to live in freedom in this beautiful country. Help us to be good stewards of your gifts. Enkindle in us the fire of your love. Breathe new life in us. Help us to see our fellow human beings as your children, as our neighbors, and as our brothers and sisters. Heal us from apathy and hardened hearts toward those who suffer. You visit us in the disguise of migrants in need. As we seek to respect them and appreciate their dignity, may it be an expression of our love for you. Help us to understand the causes of migration, to feel solidarity with those who migrate, and to work for their safety and justice. We pray for the people of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, that they may bring an end to the violence of gangs and cartels, restore social order, and move forward in hope for the future of their countries. We pray for the liberation of all victims of human trafficking. We pray for all children around the world, that they may inherit a world of justice, peace, safety, and joy. We pray for healing of those children who have been traumatized:
- by violent threats in their home countries,
- by hardships along the dangerous immigrant journey,
- and by separation from their parents.
We pray for parents who do not know where their children are. Give them hope and perseverance, and help them to be reunited with their children soon. And if young people come to be detained at Goodfellow Air Force Base, help us to reach out to them in compassion and hosptality. Come to the assistance of our senators and representatives. Through the action of your Holy Spirit, help them to break through the paralyzing impasse of their partisan debates, to discover new common ground for comprehensive immigration reform. Guide the work of all those entrusted with border security and law enforcement. Give them wisdom and good judgment in carrying out their duties. Bless the humanitarian organizations who come to the aid of migrants. May their work be based on a true understanding of the dignity of the human person. Through your divine grace, may hatred be overcome by love, may revenge give way to forgiveness, and may discord be changed to mutual respect. Help us all to work untiringly toward a more just and compassionate world. In your mercy, hear our humble prayers. We depend completely on you, who live and reign forever and ever. Amen."