Mexico’s bishops oppose measures to contain and return migrants at country’s southern border

David Ramos    By David Ramos for CNA

Central American migrants in Mexico. / Peter Haden via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Mexico City, Mexico, Sep 1, 2021 / 15:08 pm (CNA).

The bishops of Mexico have reiterated their opposition to the “contain and return measures” implemented by their government to stop migrants passing through the country.

The Mexican bishops’ conference said on Twitter Aug. 31 that “as Christians, we reject the contain and return measures that governments have implemented against migrants.”

The conference also condemned “the xenophobia, discrimination and violence against them.”

“We demand strict respect for their rights!” they insisted.

The conference told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language news partner,  that their Twitter message is an excerpt from the message published Jan. 20 by the bishops’ Pastoral Ministry for Human Mobility, but that it applies today as much as it did then.

The Mexican bishops’ statement comes three days after agents of the Instituto Nacional de Migración and members of the Mexican National Guard tried to block the passage of hundreds Haitian and Central American migrants, beating some of them, near the country’s border with Guatemala.

The INM announced Aug. 30 that two of its agents were suspended for their “improper actions” against the migrants.

In their January Pastoral Ministry for Human Mobility statement, the bishops of Mexico affirmed their “Christian commitment and our pastoral work on behalf of migrants, displaced persons and those in need of refuge and/or international protection.”

On Aug. 24 the United States Supreme Court ordered the reinstatement of the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, which forces those seeking asylum in the U.S. to stay in Mexico until their case is adjudicated.

The Biden administration had moved to rescind the policy in June, but on Aug. 14 a district court judge in Texas ruled the administration had violated the law in its efforts to repeal the program; the court ordered that the protocols be reinstated.

After the Biden administration appealed the decision in court, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals would not overrule the lower court’s decision, and the Supreme Court declined to halt the order from going into effect.

The U.S. bishops’ conference has opposed the policy, calling it “contrary to our laws and morals” in a June 2021 statement.

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