(RNS) – More than 100 Catholic organizations in Central America, Mexico and the United States urge their respective bishops to “speak with one bold and united voice” to protect migrants and refugees in search of a better life.
“We need your pastoral and moral leadership to face this moment”, we read in one June 17 letter signed by 162 Catholic groups.
“This summer and this fall, we have the best opportunity in a generation to move forward on the core priorities of Catholic migration,” he continues.
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The statement comes as America’s bishops virtually gather for their annual spring gathering.
The letter is addressed to Archbishop Gonzalo de Villa y Vásquez of Guatemala, Bishop Angel Garachana Pérez of Honduras, Archbishop José Luis Escobar Alas of El Salvador, Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera López of Mexico and to the Archbishop of Los Angeles José Gomez, who is President of the United States. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“The promise of a new US administration to tackle the root causes of migration, to treat migrants humanely, and to put immigrants who have lived in the United States for years, and in many cases decades, on the path of citizenship is a unique opportunity to relieve pain and suffering endured too long, ”says the letter. “This moment requires a response from the whole Church that is regional, united and robust.”
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As people continue to migrate from Central America, groups are advocating for a pastoral response “to provide safer refuge for people as they travel through the region and await resolution of their cases.” They also ask for more support when helping migrants resettle and integrate families into their new communities or upon returning home, according to the letter.
“As a Church accompanying migrants every step of the way, we are uniquely placed to fill the gap by planning for the increase in the number of migrants,” the groups say.
They also advocate for a path to citizenship for immigrants who are already in the United States, adding that many families in their parishes have lived in the United States for a generation without legal status, and are asking for support. as Catholic groups strive to secure that US aid money to communities that need it most.
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“Your leadership is essential in reorienting US policy towards Central America, away from low-wage jobs and the extractive industries, towards better jobs, sustainable development and the protection of human rights,” the groups say in the letter.
The letter is signed by American groups including Hope Border Institute, Faith in Action, Kino Border Initiative and Catholic Charities of Southern New Mexico, Santa Fe and San Diego.
Other groups include Casa Monarca and Servicio Jesuita a Refugiados in Mexico as well as Pastoral de Liturgia and Misioneros Claretianos Izabal in Guatemala. Comunidades de Fe Organizadas En Acción in El Salvador and Pastoral de Movilidad Humana in Honduras also signed the letter.