Mexican bishops concerned by US-Mexico immigration agreement

Mexico City, Mexico, Jun 11, 2019 / 03:03 pm (CNA).- The Mexican bishops’ conference expressed its concern Monday about the immigration and tariffs agreement reached between the governments of the United States and Mexico.

Mexico has agreed to take measures to reduce the number of migrants to the US, in order to avoid tariffs being imposed.

Some 6,000 National Guard troops will be assigned to Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala, and some asylum seekers in the US will be sent to Mexico to wait while their claims are processed.

The Mexican bishops’ conference expressed “its concern for the lack of a truly humanitarian reception for our migrant brothers which reflects our convictions regarding the equal recognition and protection of the rights of all human beings” in a June 10 statement.

“Deploying 6,000 National Guard troops on the southern border is not a fundamental solution that addresses the true causes of the migration phenomenon. The fight against poverty and inequality in Mexico and Central America seems to be replaced by fear of the other, our brother,” the bishops said.

“If we as Mexicans have rejected the construction of a wall, we ourselves can’t become that wall,” they added.

For the bishops’ conference “it is completely legitimate and necessary to make courageous decisions to avoid the imposition of tariffs on Mexican products traded with the United States.” Nevertheless, the bishops said, “our migrant brothers must never be a bargaining chip.”

The Church will continue to be committed “without hesitation to provide migrants with the humanitarian aid they require in their transit through our national territory,” the said.

“And so we express our respect and gratitude to the thousands of men and women of the Catholic Church, other churches, and civil society, who for decades have defended, at the risk of their lives, the fundamental rights of migrants in Mexico, the United States, and Central America.”

Bishop Alfonso Gerardo Miranda Guardiola, auxiliary bishop of Monterrey and secretary general of the Mexican bishops’ conference, told CNA that the Church’s care for migrants continues “both in Tapachula, particularly at the entrance point into Mexico, and the country’s north, as well as in all the migrant centers that we have, thanks be to God, provided throughout the national territory.”

“They remain full to the brim and the assistance continues day by day,” Bishop Miranda noted.

He lamented that “this feeling and this attitude of xenophobia, of rejection of the migrant, has arisen in many Mexicans.”

“An anti-immigrant climate or a climate of the criminalization of the migrant has arisen in many parts of Mexico, as if they all were thieves or evildoers.”

For the prelate, it is clear that out of a country “come all kinds of people, but there is a factor at the origin which has to do with violence, poverty and the lack of opportunities, on the levels of education and jobs and also driven by threats from criminal gangs.”

For the Church, he recalled, to assist migrants is to follow “the direct command of Jesus.”

“Even today, in today’s Mass, there are the Beatitudes. That’s our creed, that’s our doctrine, by which we govern our actions: feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, no matter if it’s a migrant or a Mexican.”

“It is a person suffering need, so we extend a hand,” he said.

Bishop Miranda pointed out that the causes of migration and how governments address them “are not the Church’s direct responsibility, that belongs to the governments, the international organizations.”

“The Church, Christians, when we see a brother suffering, who’s hurting, we can’t be indifferent, we can’t deprive him of his rights.”

The bishop also emphasized that neither Mexico nor the United States are isolated from the migration problem, and he encouraged “a dialogue, negotiations, international agreements in which large scale solutions are sought.”

If they are not resolved on a global level, he said, “we’re just going to patch up the problems but not provide fundamental solutions.”

As to what pertains to the Church, he added, “it will not cease to do its work on the individual level, the family level, on the level of persons. But politics, in the highest sense of the term, does not just look to the common good of the nation, but also the international, global common good.”

“Sooner or later the repercussions will be global and sooner or later any country that closes itself up is going to suffer the inescapable consequences, because we are all connected,”  he concluded.

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