Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas invited President Joe Biden to witness the migrant crisis for what would be his first trip to the southern border as president.
Thousands of migrants resorted to staying in dangerous tent cities in Mexican border towns after the Migrant Protection Protocols were implemented in 2019 and the Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s efforts to repeal the policy, Catholic Charities Executive Director Norma Pimentel said in an op-ed Monday for The Washington Post.
Pimentel asked Biden to visit the Rio Grande Valley and negotiate with Mexican officials to secure more humane conditions for the migrants. She appealed to the president’s Catholic faith to provide humanitarian assistance to the migrants.
“I invite you to come and see for yourself, as your wife did in 2019, what is happening on the border,” Pimentel writes. “There are many layers to the immigration realities behind the strident political rhetoric that dominates and obscures the issue today. But we must find ways to counter what Pope Francis calls a ‘globalization of indifference.’”
Migrant families have lived in the camps for up to two years as they wait for a decision on their immigration cases, according to Pimentel. The camps are affected by extreme heat and intermittent rain that turns the ground into thick mud and floods tents, while drug cartels plague the border towns with violence.
“We must not make children live for months in rain-logged tents,” Pimentel wrote. “We cannot abandon them to communities where their mothers are afraid to let them use the bathroom at night for fear they might encounter a gang member or be assaulted.”
Pimentel asked Biden to consider allowing the migrants into the U.S. on humanitarian parole or working with Mexican officials to allow the U.S. Agency for International Development to donate food, medical attention, and housing for the migrants waiting at the border.
An estimated 5,000 migrants are staying at a makeshift camp in Reynosa, Mexico, near McAllen, Texas, according to Pimentel.
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