Tuesday morning, UNITE HERE director of immigration policy Father Clete Kiley joined a delegation of Catholic bishops and other leaders for a Mass of Repentance on the U.S.-Mexico border. Click here to see pictures from the Mass.
The Mass, held along the border wall in Nogales, Arizona, remembered thousands of migrants who have died in the U.S. desert since 1998.
This was the final stop of a weekend of travel along the U.S.-Mexico border for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration, as well as other Catholic leaders from both nations, to highlight the human suffering caused by a broken immigration system.
The trip echoes one taken by Pope Francis in July 2013 to the island of Lampedusa, where he spoke about the “globalization of indifference” toward migrants. The island off the Italian coast is a common–and sometimes deadly–destination for migrants from the Middle East, Eritrea, and other parts of Africa who attempt to reach Europe.
The message of the Mass focused on returning urgency to policies of compassion for immigrants. Comprehensive immigration reform remains stalled in Congress, and UNITE HERE has joined the call for pressure on the Obama Administration to halt deportations and reunite separated families.
To learn about the estimates of border deaths and the names of some of the migrants who have been identified, go to the Arizona Recovered Human Remains Project.