EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Border religious leaders and some nonprofits plan to gather in Juarez on Saturday to mourn the deaths of migrants in transit and call on the United States to institute more humane immigration policies.
The gathering includes a Mass cosponsored by the Catholic dioceses of Juarez, El Paso and Las Cruces, New Mexico.
“We are heartbroken and infuriated by newly released Border Patrol data recording an all-time high 557 migrant deaths in our Southwest border in just the past year,” said Fernando Garcia, executive director of El Paso’s Border Network for Human Rights.
He said that only includes bodies found, so the actual number of migrants who lost their lives in pursuit of the American Dream is likely higher. He said group members are “proud and humbled” to attend the annual border Mass to honor those who died while seeking refuge.
“Their lives mattered and the responsibility for their deaths falls on the shoulders of the Biden administration and Congress due to their continuation of unjust policies such as Migrant Protection Protocols and inaction to fix our broken and unjust immigration system,” Garcia said.
The group plans to set up a Day of the Dead altar in honor of the migrants at the site of the Mass. The Mass takes place at 10 a.m. Saturday in front of El Punto, a monument and auditorium next to Benito Juarez Stadium in Juarez. Bishops Mark J. Seitz, Peter Baldacchino and Jose Guadalupe Torres of El Paso, Las Cruces and Juarez are scheduled to participate.
The annual Mass was suspended last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Masks will be required for those attending in person and health authorities in Juarez may limit the size of the crowd, the El Paso Diocese said.
The event will be broadcast on the Diocese of El Paso’s Facebook page.