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OLVM opposes new rules for asylum seekers

On July 15, Sr. Mary Jo Nelson, in the name of the congregation of Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters, submitted comments in opposition to the proposed rule by the Homeland Security Department and the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which would so drastically limit the possibility of asylum seekers to be accepted into the U.S., that it would in effect eliminate our asylum system. They join the National Leadership Conference of Women Religious and other individual congregations in voicing their opposition to the proposed changes are on both moral and religious grounds.

Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters would like to submit the following comments in opposition to the proposed rule by the Homeland Security Department and the Executive Office for Immigration Review "Procedures for Asylum and Withholding of Removal; Credible Fear and Reasonable Fear Review" (RIN 112-AA94, EOIR Docket No. 18-0002, A.G. Order No. 4714-2020)

OLVM is an American Congregation of Sisters that has served for almost 100 years in the United States and in Bolivia. We strongly oppose the proposed rule change pertaining to persons seeking asylum in the U.S. on moral and religious grounds. These changes are in direct opposition to who we are as human beings, citizens of the United States and as Catholic Christians. We believe in and cherish the inalienable rights assured us in our Constitutions, i.e., Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. The Constitutions also attest to the fact that these rights are given to all humans by their Creator and that it is the responsibility of government to protect them. In addition, as Christians, we are committed to Love of Neighbor, which includes all human beings, especially when they are in need. The changes proposed would impose impossible obstacles to those seeking asylum due to life threatening situations, essentially ending our asylum system. They would also deny the right to due process, since a judge would be able to deny an application without even allowing a hearing.

Many of our Sisters have lived and worked among Latinos in various parts of the U.S. and have a personal perspective on this issue. Some have personally met people arriving at our southern border who have endured unspeakable hardships, physically and emotionally, in leaving their homes and country to attain a better life. They are not statistics to us, but human beings seeking safety and opportunity to provide a better life for their families. Allowing the proposed rule changes, would be to deny our basic values and ideals as human beings, as citizens and as Christians.

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