U.S. bishops urge Biden administration to “reverse its present course” on immigration


A male Border Patrol agent in La Joya, Texas, speaks in November 2021 with a Honduran man holding his daughter and waiting to be transported to a processing center after turning himself in to seek asylum. / Shutterstock

Washington D.C., Jan 8, 2023 / 09:48 am (CNA).

On the eve of President Joe Biden’s scheduled Sunday visit to the U.S.-Mexico border to meet with local officials and border enforcement agents, the U.S. Catholic bishops announced their opposition to the administration’s recent crackdown on illegal immigration to the United States.

Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’s (USCCB) Committee on Migration issued a statement on behalf of the bishops Friday, a day after President Joe Biden unveiled new stricter immigration rules.

“We urge the Administration to reverse its present course in favor of humane solutions that recognize the God-given dignity of migrants and provide equitable access to immigration and humanitarian pathways,” the statement said.

Biden announced Thursday that the U.S. will step up enforcement at the border and begin to turn away Cubans, Nicaraguans, and Haitians who try to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.

The new rules would also allow up to 30,000 people to come into the U.S. each month from Cuba, Nicaragua, and Haiti. Migrants would be able to come for two years and receive work authorization, provided they have an eligible sponsor and can pass vetting and background checks.

In October the Biden administration implemented a similar process for immigrants from Venezuela that led to a dramatic drop in the number of people crossing the border from that country.

In his statement, Bishop Seitz declared the bishops’ opposition to the new rules on the grounds that those fleeing violence have a right to seek safety in the U.S.

“We welcome the announcement of new legal pathways to the United States, but it is difficult for us to consider this progress when these same pathways are contingent on preventing those forced to flee their native land from availing themselves of the right to seek asylum at our border,” the statement read.

“Under this approach, many of the most vulnerable will be excluded from relief and subjected to dangerous circumstances, contravening U.S. and international refugee law, as well as Catholic social teaching,” Seitz wrote.

“This is a drastic departure from the Administration’s promise to create a ‘fair, orderly, and humane’ immigration system and will only exacerbate challenges on both sides of our border.

Biden will visit the U.S.-Mexico border on Sunday, where he is scheduled to meet with border enforcement officials in El Paso. He will also meet with the El Paso County Migrant Services Center and nonprofits and religious groups that serve migrants, CBS News reported Sunday.

There were more than 2.38 million migrant stops on the border in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, the Associated Press reported. This was the first time the number of stops exceeded 2 million.

At the announcement of his administration’s immigration policy changes, Biden addressed those considering migrating to the U.S.

“Do not just show up at the border. Stay where you are and apply legally from there,” the president said in Thursday remarks to reporters. He said the changes “aren’t going to fix our entire immigration system, but they can help us a good deal in better managing what is a difficult challenge.”

Homeland Security officials will begin denying asylum to those who avoid the legal process and do not first seek asylum in the country they traveled through. Migrants returned to Mexico under the new rules will not be eligible to request asylum in the U.S. for five years, the New York Times reported.

​​The Biden administration ended the Trump administration’s “Remain-in-Mexico” Policy, which required asylum seekers to stay in Mexico until their claims could be heard in U.S. court. Many of these migrants were forced to wait in unsanitary and unsafe camps near the border.

In March 2020 the Trump administration introduced immigration restrictions known as Title 42 as a public health measure amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy allows U.S. border agents to immediately expel those attempting to cross the border. The Biden administration announced Thursday that it will use Title 42 in its crackdown on illegal immigrants.

Of the 2.2 million migrants stopped at the southern border in 2022, one million were turned away using Title 42, CBS reported. In April of 2022, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) announced that it would no longer authorize Title 42. The issue is now stuck in the courts after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in December suspending a lower court’s order to end the policy.

After Biden’s stop in El Paso, he will travel to Mexico City to meet with Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Kevin Jones contributed to this report.

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  1. I am Pro-Life Catholic,
    One of Jesus’ greatest Commandments to His followers is to love Him through caring for the poor! If they do not, Jesus says He will burn them in hell! To love Jesus, through the least of Jesus’ brothers, is to care for the poor. Jesus’ feeding the poor on earth, through using His Kingship, to Commanding His followers to tithe to the poor, is Jesus’ great Kingdom of God on earth. I figure that God’s Commanded tithe on our 2 billion Christians of today, would be about a trillion dollars a year. I think a trillion dollars a year from Christ’s Church on earth would abolish poverty in the world today. I think our 2 billion Christians only give about 10 to 30 billion dollars a year to help the poor on earth. I estimate Christians today, genocide tens of millions of poor Lazarus’s a year, through lack of proper Christian tithing (LUKE 16:19 The Rich Man and Lazarus).

    US Bishops and Pope Francis have been pushing their ‘open borders’ policy. How Quickly do Illegal Immigrants get on free sovereign nation Vatican City State healthcare? If I lived in a poor country, and my mother needed an expensive medical operation, the first thing I would do is illegally immigrate to Vatican City State, where Pope Francis, with his ‘Open Borders’ secular policy, has free health care and welfare available and waiting for my ailing mother to get there. All an illegal immigrant has to do is take in a Vatican museum tour, and then stay in Vatican City State for the rest of their lives. How easy is that? Certainly a trillion dollars a year from Jesus loving, tithing Christians could provide protection, food and medicine to all the world’s poor.

    So why is there not a mass illegal immigration to ‘Open Borders’ sovereign nation Vatican City State? Because US Bishops and Pope Francis’ ‘Open Borders’ temporal ruler policy is simply a diversion. Make 330 million Good Samaritans (Luke 10:29 The Parable of the Good Samaritan) American taxpayers, who are presently donating 1 trillion dollars a year to our domestic poor, and donating 48 billion to foreign aid a year, look like the bad guys. US Bishops and Pope Francis Hide the fact that 2 billion Christians genocide millions of poor Lazarus a year, through lack of proper Christian tithing, in direct opposition to Jesus’ Great Commandment to love Him through caring for the least of Jesus’ brothers.

    There are many US citizens ready to start safely transporting the world’s poor and suffering people, to Pope Francis’ open boarders arms, and let two billion tithing Christians care for them, out of love for Jesus, as Jesus Commanded.

    Matthew 25:41
    Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

  2. Whether the Committee on Migration represents [as a whole] the USCCB, Bishop Seitz’ moral concerns for a more humane solution to open border migration is bereft of a humane solution – by his refusal to acknowledge the immense moral travesty of sexual exploitation of migrants, children and adults, crime, drugs, the destitute condition of many arrivals straining local economies.
    A normal, secured border permitting legal immigration is the realistic solution, destroyed under Biden and supported by the USCCB. Now that Biden might actually stem the flow they oppose a secure border. It appears fundamentally a parroting of Pope Francis’ open border morality that’s destroying a Christian Europe. It’s immoral to promote a pious, unrealistic utopian vision of an all inclusive humanity free of national borders.

  3. The American bishops are to the left of the Biden Administration on immigration. Their traitorous lunacy is not a serious position. Presumably if the entire Third World decided it wanted to move here, the USCCB would declare it a moral imperative for us to allow it. BTW, Biden’s “heartless” solution to illegal immigration simply amounts to making it all legal.

  4. Once again, the USCCB demonstrates the moral and financial corruption of the American bishops. They are indifferent to the human trafficking at the border, indifferent to the flood of drugs ravaging communities (especially the poorest), indifferent to the collapse of public services and health care paid by taxpayers and stolen by those illegally entering the country. So long as they can keep their lucrative immigrant resettlement contracts with the federal government, contracts that keep money flowing to the bishops and help pay off their sexual abuse lawsuits, the indifference to the suffering they promote will continue.

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