From staff and wire reports
Catholic Charities USA is accepting donations online to help its agencies along the U.S. border with Mexico meet basic needs and ensure that migrant children "are being treated with care and kindness" as the humanitarian crisis there grows, the agency said in an announcement.
"Donate to help our border agencies meet basic needs of immigrant children and their families. Without additional funding, Catholic Charities agencies struggle to meet the growing needs of the migrant crisis at the border," the agency said.
On the Catholic Charities USA website, there is a tab labeled: "Donate now to help migrant children." One-hundred percent of these donations go directly to CCUSA agencies helping migrant families along the border.
"It is extremely painful to learn how much these people have suffered to get this far, and we remain steadfast in providing assistance at the border," said Dominican Sister Donna Markham, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA.
Federal authorities have yet to offer a full account of children and parents separated at the border last year. Many of them are still separated, particularly dozens of families where the parents were deported and the children stayed behind.
After a backlash over the policy of separating families seeking asylum, President Donald Trump signed an executive order in June 2018 to officially end the policy.
Recently released figures indicate that in May 2019, more than 144,200 migrants were arrested and taken into custody along the southwestern border, a 32 percent increase from April and the highest monthly total in seven years. President Trump blamed the increase on ending family separations, which he called a "disaster."
Bishops across the nation have spoken up on immigration reform as well as Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, of Austin, Texas, chairman of the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration. Earlier this year, he and Sean Callahan, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, issued a statement affirming a person’s right to seek asylum.
“We must look beyond our borders; families are escaping extreme violence and poverty at home and are fleeing for their lives,” they said. “Our staff and partners in Central America witness the suffering there and fight against it. Our government must adopt policies and provide more funding that address root causes of migration and promote human dignity and sustainable livelihoods. We recommit to Pope Francis’s call to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate our immigrant brothers and sisters in Christ.”
Catholic News Service contributed to this article.