US Customs and Border Protection authorities initially said that the agency did not have the ability to process asylum seekers at that particular border crossing. Eight members of this migrant caravan eventually were selected to apply for asylum. Four of the eight people permitted to apply for asylum are children, and three others are their mothers.
In order to be eligible for asylum, migrants must prove that they are fleeing persecution (or are afraid of persecution) in their home country due to their race, religious beliefs, nationality, political views, or affiliation with a group. After this, applicants is screened by an officer, who then can approve the case to move to a hearing.
The migration caravan contains migrants mostly from Central American countries like Honduras and El Salvador. Both of those countries have dealt with serious gang violence and political unrest in recent years, and recently, a group of high-ranking clergy from El Salvador came to the United States to speak to members of Congress, urging them to restore immigration protections for Salvadoran immigrants living in the United States.
"I think we can distinguish our moral obligations into two categories," Capizzi told CNA. "First, the obligations we have towards these people. We are, morally, obliged to take seriously their claims, and if we believe their asylum cases have merit, to treat them as refugees and then accommodate them at least temporarily to the best of our ability. They must always be treated and welcomed by us with the care appropriate to their human dignity."
Additionally, Capizzi said there is a need, as well as catechetical instruction, to work alongside other countries to improve the current situation in the home countries of these migrants. These steps will help to create an effective immigration policy that benefits all persons.
"We often forget that just as the Catechism teaches us to welcome the foreigner seeking security, so too must those in authority work to improve the conditions of human flourishing in the countries from which they flee," explained Capizzi.