Chicago priests head to US-Mexico border to help asylum seekers

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some Chicago priests are heading to the border near El Paso this week to help people who are crossing the Rio Grande on inflatable rafts to seek asylum.

Border arrests have risen to a 20-year high in recent months, and a court ruling this week continues the Trump-era program of having asylum seekers wait in Mexico. While policies and administrations change, the Catholic Extension continues to help where possible.

"Immigrants are children of God, and that we all need work together as a church, as a human family, to humanize the people who are coming to our border," said Joe Boland, VP of mission at Catholic Extension.

A delegation with Chicago-based Catholic Extension crossed the border into Mexico Wednesday.

The faith-based non-profit supports the Diocese of El Paso and helped complete work on a house for a single mother who will get help going to college. They also blessed her home.

"We are never waiting sitting around, waiting for our government to do the right thing," Boland said. "There's always something we can be doing right now. Oftentimes, what that is, is offering a bowl of soup or cup of milk."

Father Ismael Sandoval from Chicago's Blessed Sacrament Parish was also part of the mission.

"We can be more conscious of this reality that seems physically far from us, but right now, we can do whatever we can that's best to support our people, to be aware of the extreme poverty we found," he said.

The delegation returns Friday and will share with people in their communities what they saw firsthand, raise funds and return for yet another mission to assist those suffering near the border.
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