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Bishop Mark Seitz at the US-Mexico border wall in 2019 (OSV News/David Agren)

A Texas bishop has told US lawmakers that the “right and responsibility” to manage the border should not come at the expense of humanitarian protection. Source: Crux.

“The legitimate interests of the state to regulate immigration and to safeguard the wellbeing of the existing population should not be carried out in such a way that concern for the lives of newcomers is set aside and vice versa,” the US Bishops’ migration chair, Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, wrote in a February 6 letter.

The letter is addressed to senators Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell, the majority and minority leaders respectively. House Speaker Mike Johnson, Minority Leader Representative Hakeem Jeffries and all US senators were copied on the text.

President Joe Biden has heralded the immigration proposals as tough and fair.

“This agreement, if passed into law, would be the toughest and fairest set of reforms to secure the border we’ve had in decades,” Mr Biden said in a statement. “It will make our country safer, make our border more secure, and treat people fairly and humanely while preserving legal immigration, consistent with our values as a nation.”

Bishop Seitz urged senators to reject the immigration reforms in the bill that he argues “restrict access to asylum, curtail due process for noncitizens, and create authorities inconsistent with the United States’ obligations under international law.”

“Rather than sustainably reducing migration to the US-Mexico border, consistent with the common good and the good-faith intentions of many lawmakers, several changes proposed in this bill would unjustly undermine due process and pave the way for avoidable and potentially life-threatening harm to be inflicted on vulnerable persons seeking humanitarian protections in the United States,” Bishop Seitz wrote.

“As shepherds committed to defending the sanctity of life and upholding the God-given dignity of all, we implore you to reject those changes,” he continued.


Bishop says border security can’t come at the expense of humanity, fairness (By John Lavenburg, Crux)