Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller

Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller

September 23, 2013

After a gut-wrenching visit with young children in the El Paso, Texas, area who are in immigration detention, the bishops of the border region of Texas and Mexico have decided to write a joint pastoral letter on how families are harmed by the current U.S. immigration system.

San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller told Catholic News Service Sept. 12 that after visiting the children who were brought to meet the bishops at an El Paso parish and learning their stories, the bishops wanted to draw attention to effects the broken immigration system has on families.

He told about meeting a girl of six who has been in detention since her parents were deported four years ago.

Apparently both her mother and father were killed soon after they were returned to Mexico and their daughter has been a ward of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency ever since, as official systems of two countries have slowly churned to place the girl with another member of her family.

That girl and the other children in ICE custody intensely long to be with their families, he said.

“Here in this country are 11 million undocumented people. How many of their children risk losing a parent because they lack documents” and could be deported, he asked.