The old adage that the political is personal was graphically demonstrated last Friday when 70 Venezuelan protestors launched from Mexico across the gateway bridge asking to be allowed to enter the United States to seek refugee status. Having previously been in US detention centers for more than 10 days, the protesters had been deported to Mexico without being allowed to make their case. After five hours the protesters returned to Mexico. Prior to last week’s policy change Venezuelans seeking refugee status we’re allowed to cross the border and make their claims while in the United States, an exception to established procedures because of human rights violations. The new policy announced on Wednesday, October 12th, will permit 24,000 Venezuelans to enter the United States if they can prove they have financial sponsorship, and if they fly into the country. According to immigration advocates, many Venezuelans who would seek refugee status lack such sponsorship and even if they find sponsors, they do not have passports required for air travel. The new policy is expected to result in the deportation of many who are already in the United States whose claims have yet to be heard.
Given her experience of traveling to Bethlehem, then fleeing to Egypt and returning to Nazareth, our Blessed Mother had firsthand experience of what it means to be a migrant and refugee. Let us pray that Mary guides our legislators in reviewing and reforming our policies for immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers.