Miami archbishop decries DeSantis’ immigration comments

Kate Olivera   By Kate Olivera for CNA


Archbishop Thomas Wenski speaks to the media after a press conference, Oct. 19, 2012. / Ana Rodriguez-Soto/Florida Catholic

Miami, Fla., Feb 12, 2022 / 06:00 am (CNA).

The Archbishop of Miami has decried Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ comments this week belittling the plight of unaccompanied minors fleeing Central America for the United States.

“At Governor DeSantis’ Monday meeting with a few former Pedro Pan kids in Miami’s Museum of the Cuban Diaspora, he described any comparison of unaccompanied minors from Cuba in the early 60’s with those from Central America today as ‘disgusting’”, Archbishop Thomas Wenski said during a Feb. 10 press conference.

“This was a new low in the zero-sum politics of our divisive times. Children are children — and no child should be deemed ‘disgusting’ — especially by a public servant,” he continued.

DeSantis was joined at the Feb. 7 roundtable by several individuals who benefited from Operation Pedro Pan, a joint initiative between the Catholic Church and the U.S. government in the early 1960s that airlifted more than 14,000 unaccompanied minors from Cuba to the United States.

The initiative aimed to protect Cuban children from communist indoctrination.

Today’s unaccompanied minors — coming mainly from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador — are not much different from those from Cuba 60 years ago, Wenski wrote in a Jan. 14 column.

“The lack of solidarity of this group of former unaccompanied minors from Cuba with similarly situated children today was disappointing,” the archbishop said Feb. 10. “Even while recognizing the good care afforded them by Catholic Charities 60 years ago, they begrudge that same care being extended to migrant children today.”

“Msgr. Bryan O. Walsh, the revered ‘father’ of the Operation Pedro Pan children, is rolling over in his grave,” he continued.

Wenski has been an outspoken critic of DeSantis’ immigration policies, including a September executive order to suspend the issuance or renewal of licenses to shelters for unaccompanied immigrant minors.

The Florida Department of Children and Families issued a directive Feb. 10 to carry out the order.

The executive order and related legislation “would hurt vulnerable populations but also would end up hurting the citizens of Florida,” Wenski warned in his Jan. 14 column.

“The success of the Pedro Pan kids made possible by the freedom and opportunity of this great land makes clear that magnanimity rather than mean-spiritedness is a “best practice” in resolving our immigration challenges,” he said Feb. 10.

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  1. According to Abp. Wenski’s own phrasing of Gov. DeSantis’ statement, “he described any comparison of unaccompanied minors from Cuba in the early 60’s with those from Central America today as ‘disgusting’”.

    Then the archbishops says “no child should be deemed ‘disgusting’ — especially by a public servant.”

    What public servant did, Your Excellency? Certainly not Gov. DeSantis – by your own omission. He was addressing the “parallel,” which many Floridians of Cuban heritage find contemptible.

    Clearly Abp. Wenski is passionate about his advocacy, but he would likely deem it unjust if DeSantis were to twist the archbishop’s statements in like manner.

    On the same subject, though: Like many Floridians, DeSantis opposes the Biden Administration’s funding with millions of taxpayer dollars the contracts that go to Catholic NGO’s to traffick the illegals throughout the country after they arrive.

    Last Tuesday was the USCCB’s Day of Prayer for Trafficking Victims.

    I have asked Abp. Wenski please to condemn the international Coyote drug-sex-gun-and-human traffickers who bring hundreds of thousands of illegals to the Catholic NGO’s at the border. No reply as yet – and not one other US bishop, not even the “good” ones, will do so either.

    And they won’t condemn Biden, either.

    These criminal Coyote abusers charge $5,000 per head (yes, like cattle) to rob them, assault them even rape them on the way to the border. If the illegal is caught and sent home, he/she doesn’t get a refund.And yet, they are the “silent partners” of the Catholic NGO’s, lawyers, and contractors that profit (check the salaries) from their crimes.

  2. Archbishop Wenski decries a comment Desantis never made. Perhaps he would like to apologize for his deliberate distortion of what the Governor actually said. After that, he can repent of his advocacy of immigration policies that are ruining this country.

  3. Yet more unrealistic and otherworldly comments from a high churchman who lives in a freely provided house with no worries about money and paying the bills.Reality seems incomprehensible to some of these folks. Here’s a reality check. There are many things the US can apparently no longer provide for its people: law and order, modern school buildings, mental health care for those who live on the streets, housing for our homeless. There are other issues, such as the pot holes in the roads we seem unable to fix. Fixing these things takes MONEY. All of these issues are worsened by unlimited illegal immigration. Minors or adults, the net effect is the same. These people are costing us money we no longer have.They need food, housing, medical care, education, etc. The planet contains BILLIONS of poor, and the US CANNOT accept and care for all of them. It really is that simple. This is the truth, whether or not the churchmen like it. Attempting to turn it into a racial issue, moral failing, or anything like it, is simply spreading a lie.

  4. It is amazing how many bishops, including this one, are ignorant of human trafficking of illegal minors, and supportive of violating US immigration laws. For shame.

  5. I wonder why so many (it seems like it could be a great majority) of the “unaccompanied” turn out to be males in their late teens and twenties. Are they truly “unaccompanied” if they are being guided across the border by Coyotes and shady NGOs like Catholic Charities? Many of the “unaccompanied minors” are soon reunited with their parents who are already here or will be coming soon. This suggests that their travels are not acts or desperation, but carefully planned criminal conspiracies. Many of the “unaccompanied” are sex traffickers or their victims. Many of them and their escorts are bringing in drugs that are killing tens of thousands every year. Perhaps the bishops and their cronies will one day address specifics rather than just mouthing leftist platitudes.

  6. I’m reading this article in tandem with the one on CatholicVote’s efforts to get some facts. The leftist platitudes are less than helpful.

  7. Why is grossly obese, black-leather-clad motorcycle “hog”-riding, Latin Mass-suppressing limousine liberal Wenski fawningly referred to in the headline of this odious article as the “Miami archbishop” while Governor DeSantis is demeaned as “DeSantis”? How typical of this FrancisBishop to twist Governor deSantis’ words to fit the open-borders globalist propaganda being shilled by Papa Pachamama and his Vatican Queeria.

  8. I applaud the Archbishop’s comment. Disgusting is the word and meaning DiSantis said. Pushaw should apologize to the Archbishop. This isn’t political, it’s children’s lives.
    Made a mistake, Pushaw, stop digging the hole you find yourself in.

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