Under the theme, “Strangers no more: together on the journey of hope,” bishops from Mexico and US have gathered to meet in El Paso, Texas, to discuss illegal immigration and to propose solutions that respect the dignity and the rights of those who cross the border into the United States.
The closed-door meeting will take place until June 26 and is being attended by representatives of different pro-immigrant organizations.
Bishop Armando Ochoa of El Paso said in a statement that “the present reality of immigration” invites the Church “to elaborate new answers to the signs of the times, so that the human dignity of rights of our migrants are honored and respected.”
According to Kevin Appleby, director of Migration and Refugee Policy for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “The main purpose of the conference is to build relationships between dioceses on both sides of the border to work collaboratively on migratory issues,” and to “come up with a uniform strategy” on immigration issues.
“The church’s perspective is we have a broken immigration system in the U.S. and Mexico, and immigrants who want to support their family are sort of pawns in both governments if you will,” Appleby said.
Among those attending the meeting include Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington DC, and Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez. On Saturday, June 25, Senator John Cornyn will address possible reforms of immigration and human trafficking laws.