Migration fix must look at big picture, bishop encourages

U.S. Mexico border crossing at San Ysidro. Credit: Josh Denmark/U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CC BY-SA 2.0).

The head of the U.S. bishops’ migration committee challenged U.S. President Obama and the leaders of Central America to respond to violence in that region in order to protect children who are being forced to flee.

“Over the long-term, a strategy must be devised to address the violence and lack of opportunity in the countries of Central America,” said Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo of Seattle, and “(s)pecific attention should be paid to helping at-risk youth remain safe and access opportunity at home.”

“Instead of cooperating on intercepting them and sending them back to dangerous situations, the leaders should work together to protect them from those dangers, including providing them asylum in neighboring countries and in the United States,” he said in a July 24 statement.

More than 52,000 unaccompanied minors have been apprehended in the U.S. this year, a number which has doubled since 2011. It is projected that by the end of the fiscal year, 90,000 unaccompanied minors will have arrived in the United States, fleeing ongoing violence in Central America.  

Bishop Elizondo urged the region’s leaders to address the ongoing violence and instability within Central America, in order to adequately examine the influx of unaccompanied minors to the U.S.

Alluding to a July 25 meeting scheduled between President Obama and the presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, the bishop said that discussion on the situation must address the “root causes of violence.”

“The leaders should focus upon the protection of these children and families, as they are charged with as the heads of their nations,” he explained.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has stated opposition to the deportation of unaccompanied minors, without first giving them an immigration hearing.

“Families, as well, should receive a fair hearing of their asylum claims,” said Bishop Elizondo.

Rather than simply “send(ing) children back to harm,” he voiced hope that the United States will find a way to “humanely respond to this situation.”

 


Voices

The parish is the heart of the new evangelization

Archbishop José H. Gomez

As I continue to visit parishes around this great archdiocese, I see every day that the life of faith is lived in the heart of the parish.   

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March 6, 2015

  • Friday, March 6

    Lenten Fish Fry, 4:30-8:30 p.m., St. Clare’s, 19606 Calla Way, Canyon Country. Every Friday through March 27. (661) 252-3353. http://www.st-clare.org/.

    Fish Dinner, 5:30-7 p.m., St. Luke’s Catholic Church, 5605 Cloverly Ave., Temple City. Hosted by Kinghts of Columbus Council #9128 every Friday through March 27.

    CRS Rice Bowl 40th Anniversary Concert, 6-9:30 p.m., St. Monica Catholic Community, 725 California Ave., Santa Monica Featuring Stations of the Cross, speaker Thomas Awiapo, performer Ben Walther and food trucks. This year marks the 40th anniversary of CRS Rice Bowl, the largest and oldest Lenten program used by millions of Catholics across the United States known for its iconic and symbolic cardboard ‘rice bowl.’

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