Mexico City, Mexico, Jun 20, 2019 / 12:39 am (CNA).- A delegation from the Mexican Bishops’ Conference met June 17 with the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, discussing the country’s migration crisis and efforts to establish peace.
The bishops’ conference said in a statement that they met with López Obrador and discussed “addiction prevention, the advancement of youth, prison ministry, ecology and sustainable development, family, the defense of life, healthcare, and pastoral ministry in the military.”
The bishops told the president “that the Catholic Church wants to fulfill its mission joining the search for the common good within the framework of a positive secularism, where the full exercise of religious freedom strengthens democracy,” the communiqué said.
The Mexican bishops said that they received from López Obrador “a cordial reception, attentive listening, and a great willingness to maintain a collaborative and coordinated effort for the good of the people that inhabit and traverse our homeland.”
With U.S. President Donald Trump threatening tariffs on Mexican imports, López Obrador has agreed to cooperate in stemming the flow of immigrants from Central America. The Mexican government has recently increased troops at its own southern border in an effort to cut back on illegal entrances into the country.
Still, thousands of migrants who have unsuccessfully sought entrance into the U.S. are now opting to remain in Mexico, creating a crisis as resources to support the migrants are strained. More than 80,000 refugee applications are expected in Mexico this year, more than double the number filed last year, according to the LA Times.
The bishops told the president of Mexico that “the Catholic Church wants to continue to contribute to the response to this emergency our country is going through.”
“With its 95 dioceses, 10,000 parishes, more than 130 shelters and with thousands of pastoral workers throughout the national territory, the Church is carrying out an important humanitarian aid and human rights mission,” the bishops explained, which is “a labor that is not always recognized.”
The Church leaders expressed their desire to “join forces” and collaborate with the different levels of government to “guarantee the safety of migrants and pastoral workers.” They voiced their concern about “the criminalization and stigmatization of migrants and human rights advocates.”
The bishops also stressed the need for rule of law and respect for human rights in combatting the violence that has grown rampant in some areas of the country.
“The suffering of so many Mexican families because of violence and the lack of security urgently calls for fraternal collaboration,” they said.