In light of the COVID-19 panedemic, CMSM moved a planned national justice and peace gathering online, with presenters and attendees gathering via video conference. Following this virtual gathering, the group issued a statement, Envisioning Gospel-Based Solidarity and Flourishing with Migrants. The statement reads in part:

“From March 16–18, 2020, a national gathering of Catholic religious justice and peace leaders, organized by the U.S. Conference of Major Superiors of Men, met to develop collaborative responses and strategies to the emergency on the US – Mexico border, as well as the crisis of immigrants and their families throughout the United States. The meeting, originally scheduled to be held in Las Cruces, NM, was held online. We gathered with our hearts reaching out in prayers to God for our brothers and sisters affected by COVID-19
and in solidarity with medical workers who are at the front line giving medical assistance to those who are sick.

“We affirmed the common humanity we share with migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers, and expressed a desire to strengthen our solidarity with them, in order to build a stronger nonviolent movement within the Catholic Church to challenge inhumane and unjust immigration and border policies. And we looked at how racism, economic injustice, climate change, militarization and migration are all interconnected, just as we as a human family are connected to our migrant sisters and brothers. An intersectional lens helps us to see how these issues not only exacerbate each other, especially forced migration, but how getting to the root causes of forced migration requires us to address each of these issues together.

“We acknowledged the intimate connection between racism toward immigrants and forced migration. This is an old story, rooted in centuries of oppression against native peoples, but its impacts are as cruel as ever, based on policies that criminalize immigrants and militarize borders. During the current administration we have seen the devastating impact of cruel and inhumane policies that deny immigrants the right to asylum, detain and separate families, traumatize children, as well as effectively seal the border denying entry to most immigrants. The courts have often pushed back on federal policies leading to a huge increase in state level anti-immigrant legislation focused on enforcement.”

Read the full statement here.