A coalition of 164 Catholic groups sent a letter to President Biden on Thursday telling him his border policies violate the tenets of his own faith and urged him to embrace Pope Francis’ teachings.
The groups blasted the pandemic border expulsion authority, known as Title 42, which the government says gives it the power to immediately turn back illegal immigrants without giving them the chance to make claims for protection in the U.S.
The Trump administration triggered Title 42 in March 2020, and Mr. Biden has kept it in place, enraging his core supporters among the immigrant-rights activists.
“The misuse of Title 42 is a travesty that perpetuates grave harm not only on the migrant community, but upon all of us living in the United States,” the groups said.
They said it treats migrants as “them,” defying Francis’ call to “think no longer in terms of ‘them’ and ‘those,’ but only ‘us.’” The groups also said the logic behind the federal policy is that illegal immigrants are more disease-prone, which they called a “false, hateful, dehumanizing narrative.”
In the letter, the groups said they were particularly disheartened by Mr. Biden‘s comments at a town hall in July when he said migrants “should not come.”
The letter comes just ahead of the Catholic Church’s World Day for Migrants and Refugees, which is Sunday. The pope has labeled this year’s celebration “Towards an Ever Wider We.”
Mr. Biden is Catholic and regularly attends Mass, though the American church has been engaged in a debate over his fealty to the faith, given his support for abortion rights and his attempt to expand taxpayer funding for the procedure.