WASHINGTON (AP) — A Catholic bishop whose Texas diocese is receiving many of the children entering the U.S. illegally says most of them are fleeing violence in Central America.
El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz testified today at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee.
Chairman Bob Goodlatte blamed the flood of children crossing the border on the Obama administration's lax enforcement of immigration laws.
But Seitz said families he has visited in Central America told him they were terrified of drug gangs seeking to forcibly recruit their children.
Seitz said church officials have tried to discourage families from sending their children to the U.S. for refuge, citing the dangers. But he said the U.S. has a moral responsibility to shelter and care for those who make it, and said religious groups should be allowed to provide additional help.