...By Larry John for TDPel Media.
Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, who chairs the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, has written an open letter to Congress criticising the Secure the Border Act of 2023.
Seitz has been an advocate for immigrant rights and criticised both Republican and Democratic restrictions on immigration.
The act is sponsored by Republican representatives Mario Diaz-Balart and Tom McClintock, and supported by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
The bill proposes to crack down on the record numbers of migrants crossing the border under the Biden administration, by resuming construction of the border wall, ending the policy of “catch and release,” increasing the number of Border Patrol agents, and more.
According to Seitz’s letter, “this legislation contains such a combination of harmful measures that we [the bishops] believe its passage, on the whole, is beyond justification.”
Seitz claims that if passed, the bill would “fundamentally weaken our nation’s decades-long commitment to humanitarian protection … endanger unaccompanied children and inflict harm on other vulnerable persons, decimate access to asylum, mandate damaging detention and removal practices, restrict access to legal employment, limit — and potentially eliminate — federal partnerships with faith-based and other nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), undermine the rule of law, and more.”
The bishops’ letter also condemns resuming construction of the border wall.
“We have long opposed the construction of a wall spanning the entire US-Mexico border, especially with the dangers it poses to human life and the environment,” the bishops’ letter reads.
Seitz’s letter encourages members of Congress to oppose the Secure the Border Act of 2023.
Analysis and Commentaries
Bishop Seitz’s letter highlights the ongoing debate over immigration policy in the United States, and the role of the Catholic Church in advocating for immigrant rights.
The Catholic Church has a long history of supporting immigrants and refugees, and many Catholic leaders have been highly critical of the Trump and Biden administrations’ policies on immigration.
Seitz’s letter reflects the Catholic Church’s position that immigration is a humanitarian issue, and that policies that restrict immigration, such as the Secure the Border Act of 2023, are inconsistent with Catholic social teaching.
The letter also highlights the tension between the federal government and states on immigration policy, with states such as Texas and Arizona taking a hardline stance on immigration and the federal government seeking to balance immigration control with humanitarian concerns.
The letter suggests that the Secure the Border Act of 2023 would undermine the federal government’s commitment to humanitarian protection, endanger unaccompanied children and other vulnerable persons, and limit access to legal employment and asylum.
Bishop Seitz’s letter reflects the Catholic Church’s ongoing commitment to advocating for immigrant rights and opposing policies that it deems harmful to immigrants and refugees.
The letter highlights the tension between different stakeholders on immigration policy, and suggests that the debate over immigration will continue to be a highly contested and polarizing issue in the United States.