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Remembering the victims of migration

· U.S. and Mexican bishops meet at the border ·

The United Sates Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Migration will travel to Nogales, Arizona, on 30 March to join Latin American Bishops on a walk along the U.S.-Mexico border in memory of the thousands who have died attempting to cross the desert, since 1998 the number is close to 6,000.

According to the USCCB website, on Tuesday, 1 April, at 9 am, bishops from the US and Mexico will concelebrate Holy Mass in memory of those who perished seeking a better life. The majority of victims are recorded in Arizona, because of the increase in border security measures in the urban areas of California and Texas has forced migrants to take a more dangerous route through the desert of Arizona. In the area around Tuscon, for example, migrants spend days on foot crossing the desert, risking dehydration.

The bishops' initiative is expressly inspired by the example of Pope Francis, who, in his first trip outside of Rome, travelled to the Italian island of Lampedusa to remember African migrants who died attempting to reach Europe. During that trip, Pope Francis spoke about the “globalization of indifference” toward migrants and decried the “throwaway culture” that disposes of human beings in the pursuit of wealth.

The purpose of the trip is to highlight the human suffering caused by a broken immigration system, an aspect of the national immigration debate which is often ignored. Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, Auxiliary of Seattle and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, underlined the “human aspect of immigration” that “immigration is primarily about human beings, not economic or social issues”. “Those who have died,” he continued, “and those deported each day have the same value and innate God-given dignity as all persons, yet we ignore their suffering and their deaths”. 

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