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U.S., Mexican border bishops issue joint statement on border situation

National Catholic News

April 1, 2021

The bishops along the border of the United States and Northern Mexico issued a joint statement on April 1 about the situation at the border of the two countries.

Their joint statement, released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, follows:

As U.S. and Mexican bishops along the border, we witness daily the dilemma that our migrant sisters and brothers face. For most, the decision to migrate is not motivated by an indifference toward their homeland or the pursuit of economic prosperity; it is a matter of life or death. The situation is all the more difficult for children.

Challenges such as these require humanitarian solutions. Undoubtedly, nations have the right to maintain their borders. This is vital to their sovereignty and self-determination. At the same time, there is a shared responsibility of all nations to preserve human life and provide for safe, orderly and humane immigration, including the right to asylum.

For that reason, we renew our appeal to our governments, to political leaders and civil society, that they work together to welcome, protect, promote and integrate migrants in accordance with their intrinsic dignity, as well as work with other countries in the region to eliminate conditions that compel their citizens to resort to dangerous and irregular migration, producing long-term solutions. “Unlike disagreement and conflict,” Pope Francis reminds us, “persistent and courageous dialogue does not make headlines, but quietly helps the world to live much better than we imagine.”

Conscious of the importance of public health and safety, we encourage policies supported by sound scientific rationales. We maintain that family unity must be a vital component of any response. We ask that special attention be given to particularly vulnerable populations, such as children. We strongly urge that structures be put in place and reforms in our laws be made to both promote a welcoming culture for our sisters and brothers and respect the sovereignty and safety of our countries.

We pledge our support to continue helping our respective governments’ efforts to protect and care for families, as well as individuals who feel compelled to migrate. To accomplish this we commit to the ongoing work of Catholic organizations at the border and elsewhere, which are generously tended to by lay people, consecrated persons, and the clergy.

One year ago, on the eve of Easter Sunday, Pope Francis, exclaimed: “How beautiful it is to be Christians who offer consolation, who bear the burdens of others and who offer encouragement: messengers of life in a time of death.” As we once again enter into Holy Week, in which we experience the power of love in Christ’s Death and Resurrection, we feel encouraged to keep going, helping migrants, conscious that while the way ahead is long and arduous, it is not impossible if we journey together.

The statement was signed by the following U.S. bishops:

Most Rev. Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington; chairman, USCCB Committee on Migration

Most Rev. Mark J. Seitz, bishop of El Paso

Most Rev. James A. Tamayo, bishop of Laredo

Most Rev. Edward J. Weisenburger, bishop of Tucson

Most Rev. Daniel E. Flores, bishop of Brownsville

Most Rev. Peter Baldacchino, bishop of Las Cruces

Most Rev. Robert W. McElroy, bishop of San Diego

Most Rev. Michael J. Sis, bishop of San Angelo

Most Rev. Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS, archbishop of San Antonio

And these Mexican bishops:

Msgr. José Guadalupe Torres Campos, bishop of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Encargado de la Dimensión Episcopal de Pastoral de la Movilidad Humana

Msgr. Jesús José Herrera Quiñones, bishop of Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua

Msgr. Alonso Garza Treviño, bishop of Piedras Negras, Coahuila

Msgr. Enrique Sánchez Martínez, bishop of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas

Msgr. Eugenio Andrés Lira Rugarcía, bishop of Matamoros, Tamaulipas

Msgr. Hilario González García, bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila

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