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Remain in Mexico Policy: Catholic Border Bishops Express Complete Disagreement

BY ISN STAFF | March 10, 2019

Following a three day meeting in El Paso, Texas, the Catholic bishops of diocese along the Texas portion of the U.S.-Mexico and their Mexican counterparts (often referred to as the Tex-Mex Bishops) issued a statement expressing concerns with regarding U.S. border policy and “complete disagreement” with the Trump Administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy.

Catholic bishop Mark Seitz at the US-Mexico border wall

Bishop Mark Setiz (Diocese of El Paso) speaks during a prayer vigil at the U.S.-Mexico border wall hosted by the Tex-Mex bishops and national faith leaders in February 2019.

The Remain in Mexico policy requires certain asylum seekers arriving by land at the U.S./Mexico border (both at and between official ports of entry) who pass a credible fear screening with a U.S. asylum officer (a first step in the process for requesting asylum) to return to Mexico to await their asylum hearing in U.S. immigration court.

On January 29, DHS began implementing the Remain in Mexico policy at the San Ysidro port of entry. Reports indicate that, as of mid-February 2019, at least 73 people had been processed and returned to Mexico through this policy, including 13 minors. There are also media reports that DHS is looking to implement this policy in the Eagle Pass and El Paso, both ports of entry on the Texas-Mexico border.

Learn more about the “Remain in Mexico” policy with this one-pager issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Justice for Immigrants campaign.

The full statement of the Tex-Mex bishops can be found below.

Statement of the bishops of the border between Texas and Northern Mexico
March 4, 2019

I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Mt 25:35).

Driven by situations of extreme violence and poverty, many immigrants come to our border, in large caravans or small groups. We urge everyone to discover, in these brothers and sisters who are suffering, Christ in need, and to give them the support they require, without assuming they are criminals, as they are sometimes perceived. The reality is different: many of them are victims of criminal elements in their own countries as well as along the course of their journey to the border. As bishops of the border between Texas and Mexico, we reiterate our commitment to continue to provide all the help our migrant brothers and sisters need, each distinct diocese joining with various religious and civil organizations that work in support of the immigrant. We appeal to governments, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they not adopt policies that have the effect of increasing the suffering of the most vulnerable.

In particular, we express our total disagreement with the policy of the government of the United States to send to Mexico migrants who are waiting for their turn to appear before a U.S. judge who will decide whether or not they receive asylum. We oppose this proposal for several reasons, among others: 1) It will force Mexico to organize camps for tens of thousands of refugees, thus effectively undermining their right to seek asylum in the United States, and depriving them of the support of family members on U.S. soil. 2) It will effectively put out of their reach the exercise of their right to procure legal representation in their case before the court. 3) It will create a situation in which many immigrants and refugees will no longer seek the legal process through established ports of entry, but will try to enter the United States through high-risk locations in order to avoid the authorities.

As pastors, we encourage our faithful to join ourselves to the God of hope and life, so that he may help us to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate immigrants, as requested by Pope Francis.

Let us not grow tired of doing good (Galatians 6:9).

Most Rev. Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS
Archbishop of San Antonio

Most Rev. Michael Boulette
Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio

Most Rev. Daniel E. Flores
Bishop of Brownsville

Most Rev. Mario A. Avilés. C.O.
Auxiliary Bishop of Brownsville

Most Rev. Raymundo J. Peña
Bishop Emeritus of Brownsville

Most Rev. José Guadalupe Torres Campos
Bishop of Ciudad Juárez

Most. Rev. Mark J. Seitz
Bishop of El Paso

Most. Rev. James Tamayo
Bishop of Laredo

Most Rev. Eugenio Andrés Lira Rugarcía
Bishop of Matamoros

Most Rev. Enrique Sánchez Martínez, III
Bishop of Nuevo Laredo

Most Rev. Alonso G. Garza Treviño
Bishop of Piedras Negras

Most Rev. Raúl Vera López, O.P.
Bishop of Saltillo

Most. Rev. Michael James Sis
Bishop of San Angelo

Most Rev. Michael D. Pfeifer, OMI
Bishop Emeritus of San Angelo

2 replies
  1. Jim Thomasson
    Jim Thomasson says:

    These Bishops have never worked for a living and really cannot relate to any American Citizen that pays taxes to support immigrants that don’t care one bit for America and its culture. These bishops should hang their heads for allowing all the sexual abuse that has happened in the Catholic Church., and should look inside for truth and forgiveness instead of going on to a new Liberal Theology using the Bible which has never been required reading for Catholics.


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