Catholic leaders touring the Borderland are witnessing for themselves the changing face of the immigrants trying to gain entry into the U.S.
They are here as part of the U.S. conference of Bishops
Six Bishops and a representative from the Vatican toured Juarez and El Paso, focusing on immigrant shelters.
The group was expecting to see large numbers of immigrants from Central America and Cuba seeking asylum in the U.S.
“Right now, apparently, we’re having more asylum seekers from Mexico,” said David Corrales, a spokesman for the conference of Bishops.
What they saw were Mexican Nationals fleeing their homes due to criminal activity.
Even Border Parol officials are reporting declining numbers of Central Americans and Cubans illegally crossing into the U.S.
Apprehensions are down from 38,000 in May, to 8,000 in September.
“It’s the efforts done by our government and Mexico, and our government with other Central American governments. All those efforts that are being used to bring those numbers down. And they’re working. The numbers speak for themselves,” said Border Patrol agent Fidel Baca.
Customs Border Protection announced agents have now returned to ports of entry after being reassigned to help Border Patrol during the surge.
Wednesday’s delegation included Bishop Mark J. Seitz, Diocese of El Paso; Bishop Oscar Cantú, Diocese of San Jose; Bishop Peter Baldacchino, Diocese of Las Cruces; and the Rev. Robert Stark, Regional Coordinator of the Vatican’s Section on Migrant and Refugees.
The group will take their findings back to see what the Catholic Church can do to help immigrants in those shelters.
“To engage other offices of the conference that have maybe more expertise on policy, on advocacy, on humanitarian needs, on legal assistance,” said Corrales.
The delegation touring the Borderland will present their findings to the U.S. Conference of Bishops in November to discuss what action needs to be taken next.