Some had been on the road for weeks, others for days, and some entered looking haggard and sunburned with little more than the clothes they were wearing, some holding the hands of their children as a group of Catholic bishops joined a chorus of hands applauding in welcome.
The bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States have for weeks expressed outrage and condemned the government’s recent practice of separating children from a parent or a family member if they’re caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border without legal documentation.
Migrants seeking a better life in other countries must not be viewed with suspicion but rather defended and protected, no matter their status, Pope Francis said.
Pope Francis praised the International Catholic Migration Commission’s work over the past 67 years, noting how it also offers expert assistance to bishops’ conferences and dioceses to respond to local and national challenges.
During a U.N. session preparing for a global compact for migration dedicated to facilitating safe, orderly and regular migration around the world Oct. 12, a Vatican representative said overly strict immigration laws do not discourage migration, and more must be done to keep migrant families together.
The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration criticized President Donald Trump’s executive memorandum to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, saying it would “put immigrant lives needlessly in harm’s way.”
Urging Americans to look at their families for stories of immigration, the president and vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called attention to the hardships and contributions of immigrants to American society as the U.S. church prepared to observe National Migration Week.
Closing doors to immigrants and refugees is not the answer — in fact, it only helps encourage the crime of human trafficking, Pope Francis said.
The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration said Sept. 14 that Catholics “are called to overcome the partisan divides that separate us” on migration issues.