Church Near California-Mexico Border Plans Welcome Statue to Immigrants

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A California church near the U.S.-Mexico border is planning to erect a hilltop welcome statue to send a message of hope to immigrants.

The Los Angeles Times reports Saturday that a 40-foot-tall (12-meter-tall) monument of Mary, mother of Jesus, that was inspired by the Statue of Liberty is planned for the parking lot of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in San Ysidro.

The statue will be named “Welcome the Stranger.” Supporters are trying to raise $1 million to build it by early next year.

Robert W. McElroy, Archbishop of San Diego speaks with participants through the fence during the 23rd Posada Sin Fronteras where worshipers gather on both sides of the US-Mexican border fence for a Christmas celebration, at Friendship Park and Playas de Tijuana in San Ysidro, California on December 10, 2016. (SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP/Getty Images)

Bishop Robert McElroy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego says the monument will serve as a reminder of immigrants’ contributions to the United States.

Artist Jim Bliesner says he drew inspiration for the design from community members.

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