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Central American migrants wait to be granted asylum on the Mexico-Guatemala border Central American migrants wait to be granted asylum on the Mexico-Guatemala border  (AFP or licensors)

Mexico’s Bishops respond to US migration deal

The Catholic Bishops of Mexico release a statement expressing concern for a recent agreement with the United States to stem the flow of migrants traveling north towards the US border.

By Vatican News

Mexico and the United States agreed last Friday on a deal to avert tariffs on all Mexican exports to the US, with Mexico promising to take “strong measures” to halt migrants traveling north from Central American countries.

In a statement, the Mexican Bishops’ Conference expressed its “concern at 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.”

Mexico must not be the wall

The Bishops say the government’s decision to send 6,000 National Guard troops to Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala was “contradictory”.

“Ifwe, as Mexicans, have rejected the construction of a wall,” they say, “we cannot turn ourselves into that wall.”

But the Mexican Bishops also welcomed the deal to avoid tariffs on Mexican goods, and hoped that “continued dialogue might express the fundamental values of two democratic nations: respect for human rights, solidarity among peoples, and efforts to promote the common good of the region”.

Partial success

The Bishops say the real problem is not stopping the flow of migrants, but “promoting integral human development in Central America and the southeastern portion of Mexico.”

“Mexico is not isolated,” they say. “It is a brother nation that must build up other Central American countries through a strategy that take into account a regional common good”.

Migrants are not currency to be traded

“Our migrant brothers,” say the Bishops, “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.”

Appeal to Mexican and US governments

The Catholic Bishops of Mexico conclude their message with an appeal to the governments of Mexico and the United States.

They formally request that the two nations “make a permanent commitment to put dialogue and transparent negotiation first in our bilateral relations. Do not fall 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”.

11 June 2019, 18:06