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Catholic leaders call for better treatment of Haitians, other migrants at border

Catholic leaders on Wednesday called for better treatment of Haitians and other migrants crowded under a bridge at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We call on the U.S. government to reassess its treatment of migrants in Del Rio and elsewhere along the U.S.-Mexico border, especially Haitians, who face life-threatening conditions if returned to Haiti and possible discrimination if expelled to third countries,” stated Bishop Mario Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. bishops’ migration committee, and Sister Donna Markham, OP, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA.

They said they were “saddened to see such a disregard for human dignity” on the border.

Thousands of migrants have crowded under the international bridge in Del Rio, Texas in recent days, at the U.S.-Mexico border. Many of the migrants are from Haiti and reached the border through Mexico and Central American countries. Some told reporters they left Haiti years ago and moved north to the United States, citing diminished employment opportunities where they were.

The Biden administration, in response, has said it is bringing more federal personnel to the border, is continuing to expel asylum-seekers under Title 42 authority, and is placing other migrants in immigration removal proceedings. Under Title 42, the administration can expel certain individual asylum-seekers due to health concerns from the ongoing pandemic.

“We have reiterated that our borders are not open, and people should not make the dangerous journey,” stated Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security, at a Sept. 20 press conference in Del Rio. 

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