Leading border bishops and activists to Biden: Follow Pope Francis on migration

By Christopher White, 3 February 2021
A group of Central American migrants is questioned about their children's health after surrendering to U.S. Border Patrol agents south of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in El Paso, Texas, March 6. Image: CNS/Reuters/Lucy Nicholson/NCR.


Five U.S. border bishops, along with a number of leading migration activists and advocates, have sent a letter to President Joe Biden outlining a plan for border reform, modelled after Pope Francis’ call for policies “to welcome, promote, protect, and integrate those who come in search of better lives for themselves and their families.”

The two-page letter and its accompanying framework for reform calls for restoring asylum at the border, pursuing policies that promote the protection of those on the move rather than deterrence measures, and a new comprehensive immigration policy that provides a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented individuals forced to live in the shadows.

The letter is set against the backdrop of the 6 January violent insurrection in the nation’s capital, with the signatories writing that “a divisive politics has long proceeded unchecked, unmoored from love of neighbour, and enabled by the silence of those who had responsibility to speak.”

“In our work on the border, we have seen the same steady drying up of mutual concern, the disappearance of compassion and the troubling growth of the spirit of indifference for decades,” they write.

Among the specific policy proposals is a call to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to asylum-seekers forced to remain in Mexico until their cases are processed and a call to move away from “policies grounded in deterrence and military-style strategies and move towards a system grounded in the recognition of the rights and dignity of migrants and asylum seekers.”

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Christopher White is NCR national correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @CWWhite212.

With thanks to National Catholic Reporter and Christopher White, where this article originally appeared.


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