AMERICA/MEXICO - Bishops after Mexico-US agreement: "migrant brothers must never be used as currency"

Wednesday, 12 June 2019 emigration   human rights   episcopal conferences  

Vatican media

Mexico City (Agenzia Fides) - "As Mexican Bishops’ Conference, we express our concern about the lack of a truly humanitarian welcome for our migrant brothers and sisters which reflects our convictions in recognizing and protecting the rights of all human beings equally". Thus begins the message of the Mexican Bishops after the agreement between the United States and Mexico on the subject of customs tariffs and migration policy (see Fides, 11/6/2019), signed by the President and the Secretary General of the Mexican Episcopal Conference (CEM), respectively Archbishop of Monterrey, Mgr. Rogelio Cabrera Lopez, and Auxiliary Bishop of Monterrey, Mgr. Alfonso Miranda Guardiola.
The deployment of six thousand members of the National Guard on the southern border "is not a radical solution that addresses the true causes of the migration phenomenon", they say in the text sent to Fides, highlighting: "If we, as Mexicans, have rejected the construction of a wall, we cannot turn ourselves into that wall".
Recognizing the legitimacy of "making courageous decisions to avoid the imposition of tariffs on Mexican products traded with the United States", which would cause serious economic damage to the country, the Bishops encourage those responsible for the negotiations, "so that dialogue continues and expresses the fundamental values of two democratic countries: respect for human rights, solidarity among peoples and work for the common good of our region".
"In this historical moment - they continue - the government and society must not renounce promoting integral human development for Central America and southeastern Mexico". Mexico "is not isolated, it is a brother nation that must build up other Central American countries through a strategy that take into account a regional common good". "Our migrant brothers must never be used as currency. No negotiation should be placed above what the Church and civil society have defended for years; that is, not labeling migrants as criminals, and the human rights of those who fight for their dignity with significant risks to their own security".
The message recalls that thousands of migrants try to reach the United States, fleeing the violence and misery of their countries, many others are arrested and deported to Mexico, based on the unilateral American program that allows migrants from Central American to remain in Mexico while awaiting a decision on their asylum claims, exposed to serious risks in Mexican border cities and preventing their full access to legal assistance. "As members of the human family we cannot be indifferent to the pain that many of them live and that requires our humanitarian help and respect without restriction of their human rights".
"The Catholic Church in Mexico is convinced that a just migration policy is needed that, on the one hand, guarantees a free and orderly, regulated and responsible transit of people; and on the other hand watches over the legitimate interests of the members of our nation. Similarly, we are convinced that Mexicans must be united in facing this and other global challenges".
The Bishops formally ask the governments of Mexico and the United States to "always privilege dialogue and transparent negotiation in bilateral relations, without falling into the easy temptation of blackmail or threats". The good of each country is built by looking after the good of the whole region. There is not future other than that of walking together as brothers and sisters". The Mexican and North American Bishops have always expressed their willingness to collaborate "with all the initiatives that allow us to find a path to greater security and protection of the human rights of those who emigrate", and reiterate that it is their duty "to raise the voice when human rights are violated. It has always been like this and will be in the future".
The Mexican Bishops reaffirm the desire to "provide migrants with the humanitarian aid they need in their transit through our national territory"; they thank thousands of men and women of the Catholic Church, other churches and civil society, who for decades have defended the fundamental rights of migrants in Mexico, the United States, and Central America; they ask migrant brothers and sisters to "integrate with respect in the communities in which they are welcomed". The message of the Mexican Bishops ends with an invocation to the Holy Spirit, to enlighten "the civil authorities of our nations to make the wisest and most authentic decisions for our peoples". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 12/6/2019)