~ by Kurt Jensen, Global Sisters Report/Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON, D.D. – The announcement that the Biden administration was raising the limit of annual refugee admissions from 15,000 to 62,5000 was cause for celebration at a Georgetown University online discussion of migrant issues last week.
Sr. Norma Pimentel, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in Brownsville, Texas, said more visibility would help the cause, so she invited President Joe Biden to visit the U.S. – Mexican border.
“Sometimes I always say the best way to understand what is happening at the border is to come and see, you know?” said the Sister of the Missionaries of Jesus, adding that it makes a difference when you “actually see the face of a child, a mother hurting and suffering for their babies.”
She said seeing this pain and the suffering up close “you then understand that your policies and your leadership will directly affect that life.”
Pimentel urged the president and other national leaders to “please come and see” with open hearts what is happening at the border.
“At some point, I will,” Biden said, when asked on March 21st if he’d visit the border, but no plans have been announced. Vice President Kamala Harris, who met virtually with Alejandro Giammatei, the President of Guatemala, on May 3, likewise has not made a border visit.
Dylan Corbett, Executive Director of the Hope Border Institute, said he thinks there have been positive, significant changes under the Biden administration.
“You saw, for example, in the lifting of the refugee cap a real strong commitment to building or rebuilding our capacity to resettle refugees around the world,” he said.
We’ve been talking about immigrants in really bad ways for the last four years, as people we ought to fear,” Corbett added.
“We’ve been vilifying and criminalizing and demonizing our migrant brothers and sisters for too long,” he said, noting that now the President has “changed the tone around immigration and recognized that this is an opportunity for compassion and to treat people with dignity.”
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