Last week, I visited the family detention center in Artesia, New Mexico, and saw first hand how our country is responding to the issue of women and children seeking refuge at our border. I also had the opportunity to see in action how the Catholic Church is responding to these same women and children.
Tragic images of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S.-Mexico border are flooding the airwaves, begging a humanitarian response, as well as hard questions. Why are these children coming here? Why now and why in such large numbers?
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, approximately 57,000 unaccompanied minors have crossed into the United States since the 2014 fiscal year began in October—twice the number apprehended in 2013 and three times the 2011 total.
Like most of us these days, we are all faced with how to respond in a pastoral way to the humanitarian challenges in front of us with unaccompanied minors coming into our country. I recently visited with a number of these young people with some of our staff members of the Diocesan Pastoral Center here in Orange.