Below is a letter to the U.S. Bishops on Migration that I signed on in the name of the Women of Providence in Collaboration. Many faith groups, Religious Congregations, and Federations have also signed this document. If we had people in the U.S. and Mexico we were asked to sign on. It is in keeping with our WPC mission statement.
June 17, 2021
Dear Cardinal Cabrera López, Archbishop Gómez, Archbishop Gonzalo de Villa y Vásquez, Archbishop Garachana Pérez and Archbishop Escobar Alas,
We are Catholic organizations from the U.S., Mexico, and Central America, working to protect migrants and improve life in the communities they are fleeing. We write to urge you to hear the cries of our brothers and sisters on the move and respond with bold leadership. This summer and Fall, we have the best opportunity in a generation to make progress on core Catholic migration priorities. We need your pastoral and moral leadership to meet this moment.
The promise by a new U.S. Administration to address the root causes of migration, treat migrants humanely, and put immigrants who’ve lived in the U.S. for years, and in many cases decades, on a path to citizenship is a unique opportunity to relieve pain and suffering too long endured. This moment requires a whole Church response that is regional, united, and robust.
We highlight three areas of great urgency and opportunity:
- Responding humanely to increased migration: Drought, climate change, political instability, poverty and the pandemic’s economic consequences continue to drive people to migrate from Central America. At the same time, the Title 42 public health pretext for sealing the U.S. border with Mexico is eroding under pressure from lawsuits, progress against COVID and a more humane approach to managing the border. These realities require a pastoral response to provide more safe refuge for people while they travel across the regionand wait for resolution of their cases, and more support to resettle and integrate children and families on arrival in their new communities or when they return home. As a Church accompanying migrants every step of the way we are uniquely situated to fill the breach by planning for the increase in migrants. As we do so we can help public authorities develop a coherent, regional migration system, focused on protecting people, respecting the right to asylum, and offering safe and legal pathways for people to reunite with family, seek refuge, and work (increased temporary visas for agricultural and other essential work).
- Putting immigrants in the U.S. on a pathway to citizenship: Many families in our parishes have lived in the U.S. for a generation without legal status, exposed to exploitation and insecurity. This summer, the U.S. Congress and Administration have an opportunity to provide legal status and a pathway to citizenship to Dreamers, TPS-holders, Farm Worker and Essential Workers through the Budget Reconciliation process. We must use all the tools available to make tangible progress on the long-standing goal of providing a path to citizenship for all eleven million undocumented immigrants. Your leadership is critical to countering the demonization of immigrants, reducing polarization on this issue and making the moral and practical case for putting our parishioners, friends and neighbors on a pathway to full social inclusion.
- Addressing the underlying conditions that force people to migrate: As the U.S. preparesto spend $4 billion over the next five years to address the root causes of migration from Central America, local Catholic organizations and partners are working to ensure that these resources reach the people and communities that need them the most, following local priorities and plans. Coordinated leadership from the Church in the United States, Mexico,Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala would provide a much-needed boost to these efforts. It would help us channel resources into the local communities that people are fleeing to create economic opportunities, reduce violence and help small farmers adapt to climate change. Your leadership is pivotal in reorienting U.S. policy toward Central America, away from low-wage employment and extractive industries, toward better jobs, sustainable development, and human rights protection.
As St. Oscar Romero reminded us, there are not two categories of people, some born to have everything and others who can’t enjoy the happiness that God has created for all. It is Jesus Christ present in the movement of people across borders, especially those who flee in search of protection and a more dignified life. With eyes of faith, let us not ignore this divine invitation to greater solidarity and to grow in just and right relationship with one another. We stand ready to work with you to lift up the pastoral solidarity and moral witness of the Catholic Church at this critical moment for our region.
Women of Providence in Collaboration, Mexico, United States
Barbara McMullen, CDP