BALTIMORE, Maryland – A small button that said “defend migrants” pinned on the jacket of El Paso Bishop Mark J. Seitz of Texas was one of the few reminders of a topic that dominated much of the 2017 fall meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, but one hardly mentioned just a year later.
While thanking the leadership of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for a July visit to detention centers where migrant children were being held and to shelters helping recently arrived migrant families in southern Texas, Bishop Daniel E. Flores of the Diocese of Brownsville reminded bishops gathered for the Nov. 12-14 meeting that the plight of migrants remains a great concern for the Church.
“At our last meeting, which seemed like a long time ago, we were very concerned, and rightly so, at the separation of mothers and children,” said Flores, publicly addressing the fall meeting of the USCCB Nov. 13.
“And there was even a delegation from the conference that came to my diocese, which the cardinal (USCCB president Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo) led, and for which I’m very grateful,” Flores said, “because they saw these young people on the periphery, or in detention centers and who are in very difficult situations. This is to remind us that this continues to be part of the mission of the Church.”
As policy decisions from Washington brought about the detention of children at the border and the separation of families that caused great outrage in the summer, the U.S. bishops moved into high gear to denounce the practices and drew the public’s attention to their plight during a highly publicized visit to the border.
They also have been fierce advocates of youth who came to the United States illegally as children and have called on Congress to find a way to make them legal residents of the country. They have been vocal opponents of a proposed wall along the border with Mexico and called on Congress to help recipients of Temporary Protected Status stay in the country.
By Rhina Guidos for CRUX
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