International News

Vice President Harris to Meet With Catholic Leaders on First Southern Border Trip

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris greets Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, at Joint Base Andrews, Md., June 25, 2021, before boarding Air Force Two to travel to El Paso, Texas. Escobar, who represents the El Paso area, accompanied Harris, along with Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, seen at center. (Photo: Catholic News Service)

WINDSOR TERRACE — Vice President Kamala Harris took off on Air Force 2 Friday morning headed to El Paso, Texas, where she plans to meet with Catholic leaders on the immigration crisis at the southern border. 

The goal of the brief trip is to address the root causes of migration from Central America, according to a statement from her spokesperson. While in the border city, Harris will meet with Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, and Dylan Corbett, the executive director of the El Paso-based immigration advocacy organization Hope Border Institute, Corbett told The Tablet Thursday. 

The vice president will also visit a migrant processing center and field questions from reporters. She will be accompanied by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. 

The trip is the first time Harris — who was asked by Biden to lead diplomatic efforts aimed at addressing the rise in migrants — will visit the southern border. However, she has no plans to visit the Rio Grande Valley, which has felt the brunt of the uptick in migrants this year. 

Earlier this month, Harris was in Central America and Mexico where she met with political leaders on her first trip to address the root causes of migration. 

Around the same time, over 20 Catholic bishops from the U.S., Mexico, and Central America, along with more than 20 Catholic leaders involved in immigration advocacy, came together for an emergency immigration summit at the Mundelein Seminary outside of Chicago. They focused on three areas: welcoming, advocacy, and root causes. 

Seitz spearheaded the meeting. Corbett, who is the regional assistant coordinator for North America, Central America, and the Caribbean for the Holy See’s Migrants & Refugees Section was also in attendance. 

A final readout and plan of action from that meeting were sent out to all U.S. bishops this week. The priority actions it outlines for addressing root causes include engaging the Biden administration, which it appears Friday could be the first step towards.