(Crux) Sister Norma Pimentel, who recently made it on this years’ Time 100 Most Influential People list for her work on the U.S.-Mexico border, has lamented the politicization of the immigration issue, insisting that politics should serve people, not partisan interests.

Speaking to Crux, Pimentel said she believes her nomination to the Time 100 list “is about defending life at all costs.”

“Politics sometimes gets in the way,” she said. “Instead of addressing life itself and the circumstances we live in, it just focuses on taking sides. We need to focus on the sanctity of life. Politics should be there for people, and it appears at times it only benefits the needs of the party.”

A member of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation, 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.

Her remarks come days after the release of Pope Francis’s new encyclical Fratelli Tutti, which, among other things, criticizes political systems focused on advancing economic or private interests at the expense of the poor and vulnerable, and urging more care be given to migrants and refugees.

Tej Francis

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