Statement of the bishops of the border between Texas and Northern Mexico

The cry of Christ in the voice of the migrant moves us

1. We greet you joyfully from the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan del Valle, in the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas. We speak on behalf of the bishops, priests, religious, and committed lay persons who are participating in the biannual meeting of the Tex-Mex Border Bishops. For this meeting we have also invited representatives from other border dioceses between the United States and Mexico.

2. We began these biannual meetings in 1986 as an expression of the communion of the Universal Church. The primary concern in all these years has been to address the life and pastoral needs of our migrant brothers and sisters.

3. In this difficult moment in our history we hear the cry of our migrant brothers and sisters, in whose voices we hear the voice of Christ Himself.

4. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, as immigrants and refugees, sought a place to live and work, hoping for a compassionate human response. Today this history repeats itself; this morning we visited detention centers and respite centers for mothers and their adolescent and minor children traveling with them. Centers like these have been described as places of intolerable and inhumane conditions. There we heard the gospel call: “Because I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was hungry and you gave me food…” (Mt 25:35-36).

5. Over the years we have seen firsthand the suffering that is brought about by a broken immigration system caused by political structures and economic conditions that result in threats, deportations, impunity, and extreme violence. This situation occurs in relation to immigration both between Central America and Mexico and between Mexico and the United States.

6. We have seen the pain, the fear, and the anguish suffered by the persons who have come to us and who have to live among us in the shadows of our society. Many have been exploited in their workplace, have lived under the constant threat of deportation, and have suffered the fear of possible separation from their families and friends.

7. This reality is made evident today as we consider the measures taken by civil authorities. We can sense the pain of the separation of families, loss of employment, persecutions, discrimination, expressions of racism, and unnecessary deportations that paralyze the development of persons in our societies and the development of our nations, leaving them empty and without hope.