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Border bishops lament plight of immigrant families

Catholic World News - December 05, 2013

In a recent letter, 13 bishops from the border region of Mexico, Texas, and New Mexico said that “what is happening to the immigrant family in the United States is an offense against God and the human conscience.”

“We write to you because of the urgency of the Church’s task to serve the suffering Christ whose image we see in the suffering people we encounter daily in streets and in our neighborhoods,” the bishops said. “Today, immigrant families face many serious threats.”

“Among these threats, we note especially the culture of increasing violence affecting many countries of origin, the dangers of migration itself, and the widespread poverty and unemployment especially affecting the youth in immigrant families,” they continued. “The current immigration system in the United States exacerbates these chronically difficult conditions affecting families.”

The bishops added:

In our dioceses, pastors and parishioners witness the traumas of undocumented immigrants fleeing the violence of drug cartels operating in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and in other parts of the Americas. Over the past decade the landscape of violence in both Mexico and Central America has led this area of the American continent to be considered one of the most violent regions in the world. This social and human tragedy has produced a new flow of migrants from all social and economic classes and needs to be treated as a humanitarian crisis … Besides adults, we are seeing a dramatic increase in the numbers of unaccompanied children and adolescents, some as young as five years, migrating to the United States … We have a deep concern that this relatively new population of young migrants is particularly vulnerable to the abuse and exploitation of human traffickers.

The bishops also criticized aspects of the US immigration system, stating that “currently there is a 17 to 20 year ‘wait’ for Mexicans to acquire a US visa,” that for-profit prisons have a financial interest in the status quo, and that detentions and deportations of nonviolent immigrants are breaking apart families.

In their concluding remarks, they called upon Catholics to “engage in dialogue, advocacy, and action to protect the rights of immigrants and to help keep their families together. Our commitment to protect and defend, to nurture and enhance the gift of every human life has never been stronger. We need to embrace all our sisters and brothers in this commitment, at whatever side of the border they find themselves.”

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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Dec. 08, 2013 9:11 PM ET USA

    Of course the new illegals are subject to abuse. It is because they can be bribed that they are abused. Where is the abuse coming from? If the bishops are so knowledgeable then let them point out who is responsible. All this broad brush condemnation does little. According to the govt. stats we now have 47 million poor in this country. Do you think inviting more poor is going to help?

  • Posted by: Defender - Dec. 06, 2013 1:32 PM ET USA

    I'm sure there is a reason why, "Nations have the right to control their borders" isn't the first item usually listed and it is seldom discussed. After Reagan's Amnesty in the '80s, this issue was supposedly done and the millions who became citizens the end. Perhaps the wait time would not be so long if the security of the US wasn't so compromised with illegal aliens who have no legal right to be here and put their families in jeopardy. It works both ways.

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