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Catholic Nun Known for Work With Immigrants Makes Time 100 List

Sister Norma Pimentel, a member of the Missionaries of Jesus, is pictured along a border wall between Texas and Mexico in late February 2018. (Photo: CNS/Barbara Johnston, courtesy University of Notre Dame)

By Elise Anne Allen

ROME (Crux) – This year’s “Time 100 Most Influential People” includes Catholic nun Sister Norma Pimentel, known for her work assisting migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border near Brownsville, Texas.

A member of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation, Sr. Pimentel is executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, where she ran a large shelter for migrants who had been released from immigration custody.

In the past, she has called for an end to the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) and to the 2019 “Remain in Mexico” policy, which requires would-be asylum seekers to stay on the other side of the border until their case is decided.

After the policy’s implementation, Sr. Pimentel shifted her activities to the Mexican side of the border and currently assists those staying in a migrant camp in Matamoros.

In a Sept. 22 Facebook post, Sr. Pimentel said she was “honored” to make the list, adding she believes her selection was made “as a recognition for the work we do here on the border, that of restoring human dignity to those in need.”

“It is a recognition of the generosity of the people of the Rio Grande Valley and from throughout the United States,” she said. “Together we recognize that we have a responsibility. We are a people of God, people driven by the presence of God in ourselves and in others.”

“When we see human suffering,” she continued, “we cannot turn our backs, we must respond. It is my hope that this recognition will bring more understanding and help people see more clearly what we can each do to respect all human life, especially the most vulnerable.”

The full list of this year’s “Time 100” will be released in the Oct. 5, 2020, issue of of the weekly newsmagazine, and will include personalities such as Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen; Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro; and United States Attorney General William Barr.

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