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Cardinal Dolan says President Trump should repent for family separations

Catholic Charities New York is providing free legal assistance to young immigrants separated from their parents.

With dozens of immigrant children in their care

With dozens of immigrant children in their care who were separated from their families, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, left, and Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, center, the head of Catholic Charities New York, give an update on the children's status on Thursday. Photo Credit: Ivan Pereira

Cardinal Timothy Dolan condemned President Trump’s now-rescinded border family separation policy on Thursday, while providing updates on the Archdiocese’s work to reunite children with their families.

Calling the policy “immoral and unbiblical,” Dolan urged the federal government to provide Catholic Charities, the city and other agencies with more information on the identities and whereabouts of the parents’ of at least 350 children residing in New York City. Dolan said Catholic Charities New York is providing free legal assistance for the young immigrants — as well as foster care for a few dozen — and asked Trump to apologize for putting them in this situation.

“In the Jewish and Christian outlook on apologies, there needs to be a firm purpose of repentance,” he said. “Not only do we apologize, but we make sure it doesn’t happen [again].”

Dolan met earlier Thursday with several separated children at the downtown offices of Catholic Charities New York and discussed the situation with the nonprofit’s legal team.

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, the head of Catholic Charities New York, said it began noticing an uptick in unaccompanied, out-of-state minors seeking refuge in May due to Trump’s “zero tolerance” separation policy, which was rescinded by an executive order last week. He said there are about 60 separated children in the care of their facilities.

“While they are with us, we will make sure as New Yorkers . . . they will receive the best possible care,” he said.

Craig Longley, director of Catholic Guardian Services, the Catholic Charities New York’s agency that serves unaccompanied children, said its staff is trained to treat the mental trauma the children have suffered. They are also working with the city’s Administration for Children Services and Mayor’s Office of Immigration to provide additional services.

The federal government still has not provided the city with details regarding how it will reunite the children with their parents, according to Longley. Mario Russell, director of Catholic Charities New York’s Immigrant & Refugee Services Division, said the process needed to happen quickly as the legal cases for those children could take months — especially if they don’t have their parents.

“Our solution is that they can come to Manhattan ... and go to immigration court together,” he said.

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