Like many of you, I have watched with increasing concern as a new wave of unaccompanied migrant children cross our borders. Over the last three years, the numbers have increased seven-fold, with arrivals expected to reach 90,000 this year. Their flight from home to the unknown is largely the result of unbearable poverty and pervasive violence. The murder rates in their home countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador rank first, fourth, and fifth globally. In rural Mexico — one out of four child migrants are from Mexico — drug violence is a daily occurrence.
As if the trauma facing these young people were not distressing enough, the response of many Americans to their plight can only be described as ugly. We are a nation of immigrants. As such, the relentless biblical call to offer hospitality to the stranger must resonate with us.
Now is the time to live out this call. Because of our proximity to the border, we are uniquely invited to do what our Lord commands (Mark 12:31). In the days ahead, I will assemble a crisis team to respond to those seeking safety by crossing our border and who may be in our diocese briefly, for extended periods of time, or permanently.
Let the Christian witness in this time and place be one of compassion, care, welcome, and sacrifice rather than judgment, fear, and self-interest. It is our time to bear forth Christ’s glorious and merciful light.