Catholics live their faith in response to migrant crisis
Across the country, and the globe, Catholics are showing love in their response to news of the humanitarian crisis on the US/Mexico border.
Catholic churches and charities have long welcomed immigrants and provided a safe bed and a warm meal without questioning anyone’s citizenship. In the Rio Grande Valley, members of our CTA chapter are among the many people volunteering to serve meals and raise money for a local shelter for migrant families. Although news media has focused on unaccompanied minors in official government detention centers, our members tell us that many families with young children are entering for the same reason, fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. These families end up at bus stations and local shelters in the border region where local groups have stepped up to help them. CTA members in the area, and Catholics across the country, have also been lobbying for immigration reform and against border militarization for years.
Far from the border, other cities are facing public debates on the issue. As the government looks for a safe place to house children as they work their way through deportation hearings, many Catholics are voicing the need to welcome the stranger. In Massachusetts, the Governor offered to house migrants at facilities in the state. Hearing that he’d faced opposition from residents of the Cape Cod area, CTA and other Catholics and people of faith organized letters to the governor and a counter rally. They offered to gather donations and volunteers to make the shelter possible and said that their faith required them to see these migrants as Children of God.
Pope Francis and the US Bishops have also been vocal about the issue, calling it a humanitarian crisis and urging the government not to deport the children seeking refuge in the US. “I would also like to draw attention to the tens of thousands of children who migrate alone, unaccompanied, to escape poverty and violence. They are increasing day by day. The human emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcomed and protected.” Said Pope Francis of the situation.
Welcoming the stranger, feeding the hungry… these are the tenants of our faith. We are proud and inspired to see so many living them out and publicly standing with the marginalized.