“Children in our homes often suffer from severe trauma, instability and uncertainty. For those who crossed the border, many escaped or evaded drug cartels and child sex traffickers on their way into this country,” Bishops Burns and Seitz wrote.
“Motivated by our faith, Catholic Charities provides food, clothing and shelter to these children, following Jesus’ command to care for orphans and widows in their distress, to welcome the stranger and to care for those who suffer.”
Confidential data obtained by the Associated Press shows the number of migrant children in government custody more than doubled from April to May this year. In April border authorities encountered 18,890 unaccompanied minors, an all-time high.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement, under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, places unaccompanied migrant children in state-licensed facilities until a suitable sponsor can be found. As of mid-May, Texas had 52 licensed facilities.
If the state’s Catholic Charities agencies lose their license and are forced to close, the bishops said, hundreds of Texas-born children will be transferred to the state’s already stressed foster care system.
Of the hundreds of migrant children for whom Catholic Charities cares, many were born in Texas, and some were abandoned and alone after crossing the border, the bishops wrote.