Monthly Archives: June 2019


President of U.S. Catholic Bishops and Migration Chairman Respond to Deaths of Father and Daughter at Border along with Appalling Conditions in Child Detention

June 26, 2019

WASHINGTON—The cry of a father and his baby daughter who drowned crossing the Rio Grande reaches heaven itself. This unspeakable consequence of a failed immigration system, together with growing reports of inhumane conditions for children in the custody of the federal government at the border, shock the conscience and demand immediate action. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, joins Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, in calling on the federal government to hear the cry of the poor and vulnerable.

Their joint statement follows:

“We join with our Holy Father Pope Francis in immense sadness, having seen the horrific images of Oscar Martinez and his daughter Angie Valeria who drowned in the Rio Grande Valley while attempting to flee persecution and enter the United States. This image cries to heaven for justice. This image silences politics. Who can look on this picture and not see the results of the failures of all of us to find a humane and just solution to the immigration crisis? Sadly, this picture shows the daily plight of our brothers and sisters.  Not only does their cry reach heaven. It reaches us.  And it must now reach our federal government.

All people, regardless of their country of origin or legal status, are made in the image of God and should be treated with dignity and respect.  Recent reports of overcrowded and unsanitary conditions are appalling and unacceptable for any person in U.S.  custody, but particularly for children, who are uniquely vulnerable.  Such conditions cannot be used as tools of deterrence.  We can and must remain a country that provides refuge for children and families fleeing violence, persecution, and acute poverty.

Congress has a duty to provide additional funding to address the needs of children in federal custody.  Their supplemental appropriations bill should also increase protections for immigrant children, including heightened standards and oversight for border facilities.  It is possible and necessary to care for the safety of migrant children and the security of our citizens.  By putting aside partisan interests, a nation as great as ours is able to do both.”


Joint Letter Supporting United States-Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act (H.R. 2615)

June 24, 2019

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committees on International Justice and Peace and Migration, and Catholic Relief Services (CRS), we urge you to support the “United States-Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act” (H.R. 2615). Introduced by Representatives Eliot Engel (D-NY), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Francis Rooney (R-FL), Norma Torres (D-CA), Ann Wagner (R-MO), and Henry Cuellar (D-TX), this important bill authorizes $577 million to Central America to address root causes of migration, including violence, food insecurity, and lack of economic opportunity. The legislation also prevents funds from being reprogrammed, transferred, or rescinded. Furthermore, it requires the Secretary of State and U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator to prioritize inclusive economic growth and development, anticorruption, and strengthening democratic institutions and security conditions in the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

The Church believes that people have the right to find opportunities in their home countries and that they have the right to migrate when conditions in their country of origin preclude them from providing for the safety and wellbeing of their families. The administration recently revoked foreign assistance to Central America, including poverty-reducing aid. We are concerned that an absence of U.S. investment and engagement will not only impede development, but also create a vacuum where poverty, instability, and migration will grow. We are encouraged that this bipartisan Congressional effort will uphold U.S. leadership and our steadfast commitment to the poor and vulnerable, so families can thrive without leaving home.

CRS, in partnership with the U.S. Government, the local church, and other civil society partners, implements youth development, water smart agriculture, education, health, and emergency response programs to promote prosperity and alleviate the push factors of migration. The United States-Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act will ensure that poverty-reducing programs continue and that the U.S. effectively and humanely addresses violence, lack of protection and economic opportunity, and corruption in the Northern Triangle.

Thank you for your serious consideration to support the United States-Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act. We look forward to working with you to address the root causes of migration and support just policies that promote human security, good governance, and communal prosperity.

Sincerely yours,

Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, Chair, Committee on
International Justice and Peace, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin, Texas, Chair, Committee on Migration, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Mr. Sean Callahan, President and CEO, Catholic Relief Services


For a PDF of this letter, click here

Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Migration Statement in Response to Imminent Administration Deportation Plans

June 22, 2019

WASHINGTON—On Monday, June 17, 2019, President Donald J. Trump announced impending immigration enforcement actions by the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Subsequent press reports on Friday, June 21 indicated that ICE has plans for an enforcement operation in major cities to remove thousands of migrant families with deportation orders.

In response to the President’s statement and reports that have followed, the Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin and Chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:

“We recognize the right of nations to control their borders in a just and proportionate manner. However, broad enforcement actions instigate panic in our communities and will not serve as an effective deterrent to irregular migration. Instead, we should focus on the root causes in Central America that have compelled so many to leave their homes in search of safety and reform our immigration system with a view toward justice and the common good. We stand ready to work with the Administration and Congress to achieve those objectives.

During this unsettling time, we offer our prayers and support to our brothers and sisters, regardless of their immigration status, and recognizing their inherent dignity as children of God.”


World Refugee Day 2019 to be Celebrated June 20

June 20, 2019

WASHINGTON—Today is World Refugee Day which is observed in the United States and around the world. World Refugee Day, first celebrated in 2000, is designed to increase awareness of refugees.

Currently, the world is embroiled in the biggest migratory crisis since World War II with more than 25 million refugees around the world.

“We have seen the images of the refugee crisis, and World Refugee Day calls attention to the critical need to assist our refugee brothers and sisters and make them feel a sense of welcome,” said Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration.  “It is imperative for us to highlight the contributions refugees make in our communities.”

The Presidential Determination for refugee resettlement was set at an all-time low of 30,000 refugees for the current fiscal year. This comes only one year after half of the 45,000 refugees set forth by the Administration’s determination were resettled in the United States.

USCCB/MRS, with Catholic Charities USA, will be participating in a Capitol Hill briefing on Thursday for members of Congress and their staff.  The briefing will include information about the root causes forcing refugees to flee their home country and the impact of refugee resettlement in the United States. More information on World Refugee Day can be found on the Justice for Immigrants website.


Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Migration Expresses Support for Mexican Bishops Concerns Regarding Recent Agreement Between Mexico and the United States

June 14, 2019

WASHINGTON— Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration has issued a statement in support of Catholic Bishops of Mexico who have expressed concern regarding a recent agreement between Mexico and the United States which will restrict the flow of migrants at the U.S./Mexico Border.

On June 10, the Catholic Bishops of Mexico stated:

“We express our concern for the lack of a truly humanitarian reception for our brother migrants, which reflects our conviction regarding the protection of the rights of all human beings equally,” the bishops further stated, “Our brother migrants must not be a bargaining chip. No negotiations should be placed above what the church and civil society have defended for years: not criminalizing migrants nor the defenders of human rights.”

Bishop Joe Vásquez responded with the following statement of support:

“We stand in solidarity with our brother bishops in Mexico. We implore the Administration not to confuse economic issues with the humanitarian issues of forced migration.  Families fleeing violence, persecution and extreme poverty must be treated with love and compassion and not be used as a tool for negotiations.

As always, we recognize the right of a nation to secure its borders.  However, the Gospel teaches us to love our neighbor. This is the imperative we must follow in treating our migrant brothers and sisters with compassion and dignity.  We should be working with the governments of the Northern Triangle and the Mexican Government to eradicate violence and improve the local economies from which families are being forced to migrate.”


Congress: Please Robustly Support Refugees At Every Stage of Their Journeys to Safety and Freedom

In the days and weeks around June 20, 2019, communities across the globe celebrate the 19th Annual World Refugee Day. Standing in solidarity with refugees at every stage of their journey to safety and freedom, the Catholic Church celebrates the special courage and resilience of refugees and refugee families.
In his message for this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis calls us to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate all those living in the existential peripheries of society, whether migrants or otherwise. As he notes, “it is not only the cause of migrants that is at stake; it is not just about them, but about all of us, and about the present and future of the human family.”


2019-06-14T14:40:40-04:00Action Alerts|