The cry of a father and his baby daughter who drowned crossing the Rio Grande reaches heaven itself, wrote the U.S. bishops in a June 26, 2019 statement addressing the deaths of Oscar Martinez and his daughter Angie Valeria while attempting to flee persecution and enter the United States.

“This unspeakable consequence of a failed immigration system, together with growing reports of inhumane conditions for children in the custody of the federal government at the border, shock the conscience and demand immediate action,” they continued.

We can and must do better as a country in providing refuge for children and families fleeing violence, persecution, and acute poverty and ensuring they are treated with respect and dignity.

Here’s how to help:

Pray

Prayers for immigrants and refugees (USCCB)
A prayer for immigrant children (Justice for Immigrants)

Act

  • Contact your senator/representative. Sign up for Action Alerts from Justice for Immigrants, an organization of the USCCB.
  • Volunteer at a local organization helping refugees and immigrants in our own community such as the Refugee Education Center.
  • Bethany Christian Services partners with local churches to welcome and walk alongside refugee families as they learn our language and culture. Churches act as co-sponsors, but it’s often difficult to find church members willing to step up and lead the effort. If you feel called to this ministry of accompaniment, contact Megan Prybyl at 616-965-8157, or click here to learn more.
  • Check with your parish about sponsoring a migrant or refugee family in your community.
  • Contact the diocesan office of Hispanic Ministry about ways to support migrant families working seasonally in our diocese.

Give

  • To Catholic Charities USA
    Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is assisting southern border agencies such as Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley which is working to build a Humanitarian Respite Center to respond to families in crisis. 100% of your donation will help CC USA agencies along the border meet basic needs and ensure that children are being treated with care and kindness.

  • To Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
    CRS programs in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are working to address problems such as poverty, unemployment and violence which are driving people to leave their homelands.
  • Those who wish to send donations to migrant shelters are encouraged to visit the Amazon wish lists for Catholic Charities in Laredo, San Antonio, and McAllen.

Additional resources

Immigration Legal Services with “Know your rights” resources
World Day of Migrants and Refugees
Visit the Justice for Immigrants website
Read “As a nation, we must honor the humanity and basic needs of migrants,” op-ed by Cardinal DiNardo, president of the USCCB, and Archbishop Gomez, vice president of the USCCB, June 30, 2019