Statement from Sister Donna Markham OP, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA Addressing Humanitarian Crisis at the Border

Alexandria, Va. (June 26, 2019)–The images and stories coming from the border are heart wrenching. Today I beg all persons of good will to reach out and respond generously to the arrival of newcomers. I also beg Congress and the Administration to provide the necessary aid to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Current legislation being debated in Congress includes important funding for the care of unaccompanied minors and other migrants. Many of these funds will be used to help social service agencies like Catholic Charities serve our immigrant sisters and brothers on the border through the provision of food, shelter and other necessities.

I have witnessed the suffering of migrant children and families at detention centers on the border. As has been widely reported, the conditions in these facilities have worsened. We must act now to ensure that these conditions improve so that all persons are treated humanely and with dignity.

Every day our Catholic Charities agencies are on the front lines, providing critical social services to these children and families at the border. These agencies are dealing with the enormous strain on their limited resources and staff. Without additional private and public funding, Catholic Charities agencies will struggle to meet these growing needs.

It is extremely painful to know what these people have endured to journey to our country, especially the children, knowing that they came at great risk and were running for their safety—in some cases for their lives. We remain steadfast in providing assistance at the border, but this endeavor cannot be solely the responsibility of private charities. Our response to this crisis must be a collective one. It is important that Congress and the Administration act to provide financial assistance and to ensure a certain standard of care that preserves the welfare and dignity of all persons.

As it has done for over 100 years, CCUSA supports our local agencies to reunite families and provide compassionate and professional care to meet the immediate, intermediate and long-term needs of immigrants, migrants and refugees. We respect the nation’s duty to regulate its borders, but this cannot be done at the expense of the dignity of children, women and men seeking safety. We will continue to advocate on their behalf and for just policies to address this humanitarian crisis.

Learn more about our efforts here.

Advocacy & Social Policy Initiatives

CCUSA's Advocacy and Social Policy team advocates for policies that uphold human dignity and promote integral human development. Informed by the experience of local Catholic Charities agencies, the team urges policy makers to encounter the needy and vulnerable in their communities and to create policies which assist and support them.

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A member of Caritas Internationalis, Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is the national office for Catholic Charities agencies nationwide. Catholic Charities USA’s members provide help and create hope to more than 15 million people a year regardless of religious, social or economic backgrounds. To learn more about CCUSA, please visit our website at