WASHINGTON--Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, Texas, stated in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, June 25, that the rise of the number of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border represents a "test of our moral character" of the nation. "We must not fail this test," he added. "We must not turn our back on them."
Since October, more than 52,000 unaccompanied children, the large majority from the countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, have crossed into the United States. Many are fleeing violence from organized criminal networks in their communities.
In his testimony, Bishop Seitz provided several recommendations for the immediate care of the children and long-term solutions to the issue.
"Over the long-term, there must be a concerted effort to address the root causes of this exodus, specifically the rampant violence in the region," Bishop Seitz said. "As part of this effort, humane reintegration practices and prevention programs investing in youth should complement anti-violence efforts."
Bishop Seitz urged Congress to cooperate on the issue, not to politicize it. "This issue should not be viewed as an occasion for political posturing, but as an opportunity for bipartisan cooperation," he said.
A complete copy of his testimony can be found online: www.usccb.org/about/migration-policy/upload/BSeitzfinaltest.pdf