Texas (Agenzia Fides) - The U.S. Border Patrol reported nearly 200,000 encounters with migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border in July, the highest monthly total in more than two decades.
The number of monthly encounters had fallen to 16,182 in April 2020, shortly after the coronavirus outbreak forced the closure of the southwestern border and slowed migration across much of the world. But migrant encounters have climbed sharply since then, reaching 178,416 in June, according to the latest data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the federal agency that encompasses the Border Patrol. The June figure is the highest monthly total since March 2000 and far surpasses the peak during the last major wave of migration at the U.S.-Mexico border, which occurred in May 2019. Preliminary estimates show that the number of migrant encounters likely increased further in July.
In May 2019, the bishops of Mexico had expressed themselves in this regard: on the continuous caravans of migrants, the bishops confirmed their will to be a "Samaritan Church, concerned to alleviate as much as possible the pain of migrants, pending a migration policy without ambiguity or naivety, in full respect for human rights". (See Fides, 4/5/2019)
Regarding the figures for this 2021, the Catholic Church through Msgr. Mark Joseph Seitz, Bishop of the Diocese of El Paso, had expressed his gratitude for the visit and for the attention of the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris on the factors that push immigrants to the United States. He also brought greetings from Archbishop José H. Gomez, at the head of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, President of the United States Catholic Bishops' Conference, recalling the importance of the border problem: "Borders are places where the drama of human life—its suffering and aspirations—unfolds and they put squarely before us a moral choice: either to build bridges or encounter walls of fear" (See Fides, 26/6/2021). (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 18/8/2021)