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A borderline Mass highlights injustice

TUSCON (SE): “The economic migrant is not a criminal. The economic migrant is someone looking for a decent way of life for themselves, for their families,” Bishop Gerald Frederick Kicanas, from Tucson in Arizona, the United States of America (US), said at a Mass celebrated on October 23 on the US side of the fence dividing its territory from Mexico.

Led by the apostolic nuncio to the US, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the celebration was organised to encourage the international community to reflect once again on the plight of families divided by a fenced border.

Fides reported that on the US side, some 250 people gathered for the Mass and on the Mexican side in Nogales no one knows exactly how many were present.

Bishop Kicanas recalled the visit of Pope Francis to Mexico, when he spoke on immigration reform and humane treatment for migrants. In presenting the nuncio, he added, “His decision to join us reminds us that this is a very important issue for our Holy Father.”

The Mass is the first of several initiatives to highlight the common work being carried out in close cooperation between the dioceses of Tucson in the US and Nogales in Mexico.

The main objective of the Mass was described as to draw attention to the plight of migrants and refugees.

Fides says that data it has recorded show that around 64,000 migrants, including 8,000 minors, were stopped by the Arizona border police in 2015, while 63 died in the attempt to cross the desert. Father Sean Carroll SJ, the director of the Kino Border Initiative, a charitable organisation that welcomes immigrants and refugees, says that the numbers have increased significantly in Nogales and local resources are now not sufficient to feed them all.


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