- Aug 10, 2020
After visiting a group of pregnant migrant women on the Mexico side of the border, Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, Texas, issued strong words June 25 about the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” program and other restrictive immigration measures, saying that turning away those seeking asylum in the U.S. amounts to sending them to their death.
For years, Catholic-led, U.S.-based nonprofits have been at the forefront of efforts to support migrants and asylum seekers along the Mexican border. Tough new border policies, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, have drastically changed their work, much of which now takes place in Mexico.
The “Remain in Mexico” program has forced more than 60,000 asylum-seekers to wait on the Mexican side of the border as their claims are heard in U.S. courts. It has proved controversial as critics contend it destroyed the traditional asylum system.
In a 5-4 vote Feb. 25, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a U.S. Border Patrol agent could not be sued for the 2010 shooting death of a Mexican teenager on the Mexican side of the border.
By requiring Brazilians seeking asylum in the United States to stay in Mexico while their immigration cases are reviewed is an unacceptable expansion of the Trump administration’s already “indefensible program,” said a Catholic bishop who heads a Texas border diocese.
With much national attention focused along the U.S.-Mexico border, members of the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions visited three programs in the Diocese of El Paso that have been funded by the Catholic Home Mission Appeal.