U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman Denounces Proposed Limits on Asylum Access
Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Justice published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, outlining regulations that, if implemented, would impose punitive restrictions on the right to seek asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.
WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Justice published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, outlining regulations that, if implemented, would impose punitive restrictions on the right to seek asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:
“We are deeply troubled by this proposal, which perpetuates the misguided notion that heavy-handed enforcement measures are a viable solution to increased migration and forced displacement. Decades of similar approaches have demonstrated otherwise. While recognizing our country’s right to maintain its borders, my brother bishops and I have consistently rejected policies that weaken asylum access for those most in need of relief and expose them to further danger. Because that is the likely result of this proposal, we strongly oppose its implementation.
“We appreciate the Administration’s desire to expand lawful pathways to the United States, especially through increased refugee processing, but that should not occur at the expense of vulnerable persons urgently seeking protection at our border. Above all, the sanctity of human life remains paramount.
“During this Lenten season, we are called to reflect more deeply on the ways we have failed to love God and neighbor. This is a time, Pope Francis reminds us, ‘when we can break the chains of our individualism and isolation, and rediscover, through encounter and listening, our companions along the journey of each day’ and ‘learn once more to love them as brothers and sisters.’ In responding to those who have journeyed to our nation’s doorstep, let us act accordingly.”
The USCCB condemned similar attempts to limit asylum access in 2019 and submitted formal comments underscoring the moral, legal, and practical concerns involved.