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A Catholic Response to President Trump’s National Emergency Declaration

February 21, 2019

An article published in America, the Jesuit Review, offers direct testimony from Catholic leaders serving people on the Mexico borders, and why they resist Trump’s national emergency plan to fund the border wall.

Members of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, of which Viatorians are members, featured the article in their latest Justice & Peace Alert, as they question whether there is an emergency that necessitates drawing billions of dollars from other initiatives to build a wall at the border.

To Bishop Mark Seitz, leader of the Diocese of El Paso, the real emergency is humanitarian—a matter of deciding how best to care for the people coming to the border.

“That should concern us,” he said. “This is a group of very vulnerable people.”

According to Bishop Seitz, past undocumented border crossers were primarily young single men and women from Mexico seeking job opportunities in the United States.

“Now what we are seeing are families that are fleeing unbelievably difficult situations in their home countries,” he said, “and looking for a place of security more than anything else, where their lives are not being threatened every day.”

Families represented just 3 percent of apprehension incidents with border agents in 2012. Last year they represented 35 percent of border patrol apprehensions.