We are right to respond emotionally to the news of distraught children, some just babies, sleeping on cement floors in crowded, dirty detention facilities, ripped from their families and fending for themselves.

It is beyond wrong; it’s evil. To excuse it is to acquiesce to the “culture of death” that St. John Paul II warned against in Evangelium Vitae.

The Bible isn’t silent about immigrants. In fact, God has specific instructions for the Israelites: “When an alien resides with you in your land, do not mistreat such a one. You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; you shall love the alien as yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt.” (Lv.19:33-34)

Isaiah, Chapter 16, offers an eerily familiar scene: “Like flushed birds, like scattered nestlings are the daughters of Moab at the fords of the Arnon [River]. Offer counsel, take their part; at high noon make your shade like the night; Hide the outcasts, do not betray the fugitives. Let the outcasts of Moab live with you, be their shelter from the destroyer.”

Regarding the news last month of the drowned father and daughter, the U.S. bishops wrote, “This image cries to heaven for justice. This image silences politics. Who can look on this picture and not see the results of the failures of all of us to find a humane and just solution to the immigration crisis?”

If it were our own families being treated this way after we had fled our homes after crop failure and lawlessness, we would feel as though we were being tortured. And yet our government is doing this, in our names.

There is another way, and it begins with mercy and justice — concepts that have nothing to do with teargas, turning away families seeking asylum and terrified, caged children. Let’s do our duty to our neighbor, help them get their house in order so that their citizens won’t have to flee their homes. Let’s accept more immigrants. Let’s fund the courts that hear the cases of those seeking asylum. Let’s close those detention facilities and instead support Catholic Charities and other groups helping refugee and immigrant families in our communities.

And let us pray that our hearts never harden.