.- A U.S. bishop (Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso) on the border of Mexico hopes his new pastoral letter on migration will turn the hearts of Catholics to encounter their migrant brothers and sisters in a concrete way.
"What does Jesus have to say about the poor, about the marginalized, about what they can actually teach us and how they are the really important ones in the Kingdom of God?” he reflected.
Bishop Seitz began his letter by stating some of the great challenges facing migrant communities in the U.S., and how the Church should respond to them.
“Since Jesus announced Good News to the poor, our Church has been called to stand with the suffering,” he wrote, saying that “migrants are living through a dark night of fear and uncertainty.”
“Recently we have witnessed indefensible, hateful words towards our neighbors in Mexico, the demonization of migrants, even of those children known as Dreamers, and destructive language about our border,” he said.
He also pointed to other problems – the breaking up of families by deportations, an increase in deportations of those without criminal records, and the detention of asylum seekers.
The journey north to the U.S. through Mexico is a dangerous one, Bishop Seitz said, with harsh desert conditions, drug trafficking, and smugglers all posing a danger to migrants. Yet once they reach the border, “increased militarization and more walls will only make this journey even more dangerous.”