Joint Press Release: American Catholic Organizations Working Along U.S./Mexico Border Issue Statement on World Day of Migrants and Refugees

EL PASO, Texas — Over the past 106 years, the Roman Catholic Church has recognized a world day of migrants and refugees. Pope Francis’ theme for this year’s commemoration, “Forced Like Jesus Christ to Flee,” reminds us of the millions of migrants and refugees on the move around the globe. Three Catholic organizations working in the borderland community of El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, offer the following statement for the 2020 World Day of Migrants and Refugees taking place on Sunday, Sept. 27.


Statement on World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2020 

In his message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis asks us to reflect on the compassion of the Good Samaritan and to take risks in order to be close to those whose wounds need binding up in our day.

Following the Holy Father’s example, as faith leaders, advocates and agencies providing legal and humanitarian relief to refugees at the US-Mexico border, we have traveled to Ciudad Juárez today simply to listen and share with the many migrant families who, like Jesus, have been forced to flee.

In this time of pandemic, we are more conscious than ever before of our interconnectedness as one human family. And never before has the US government in our name taken so many actions which directly endanger the lives of migrant families and children, layering crisis upon crisis. Today we call on our political leaders to restore the right to asylum at the border, end the inhumane practice of immigrant detention, and stop the forced returns of migrants, including unaccompanied children, to situations of insecurity and danger.

Like Pope Francis, we know that "none of us is saved alone." As our one human family works towards building a more just world after the pandemic, may we remember to create new spaces of "hospitality, fraternity and solidarity" to bind up the wounds of the excluded, displaced and marginalized everywhere.

Most Rev. Mark J. Seitz, Bishop of El Paso
Hope Border Institute
CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.)


About Bishop Mark J. Seitz
The Most Reverend Mark J. Seitz, D.D. serves as Bishop of the Diocese of El Paso. After hosting a migrant shelter at the diocesan pastoral center continuously for nine months, Bishop Seitz, continues to serve migrants refugees through the Borderland Refugee Assistance Fund, or BRAF. Learn more about Bishop Seitz and the Borderland Refugee Assistance Fund.

About the Hope Border Institute
The Hope Border Institute, or HOPE, brings the perspective of Catholic social teaching to bear on the realities unique to our US-Mexico border region. Through a robust program of research and policy work, leadership development and action, we work to build justice and deepen solidarity across the borderlands. Learn more at

As the largest charitable legal immigration network in the nation, CLINIC provides substantive legal and program management training and resources, as well as advocacy support, at state, local and national levels. The Estamos Unidos project responds to the urgent needs of forced migrants, thousands of whom wait in Mexico while their asylum requests are processed in the United States. Learn more at