Mexican bishops condemn police pursuit, violent arrest of migrants on cathedral grounds


Cathedral of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. / Credit: Alejandro Rosales (CC BY-SA 4.0)

ACI Prensa Staff, Mar 6, 2023 / 15:30 pm (CNA).

The bishops of Mexico roundly condemned the intrusion of Ciudad Juárez municipal police onto cathedral grounds in order to violently arrest a group of migrants.

The Ciudad Juárez Cathedral and its facilities have long been one of the places where migrants are received, as the city sits on the opposite side of the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas.

Among the people served by the cathedral are those who are waiting for appointments to regularize their immigration status in Mexico or those who seek to reach the United States because they see no future in their country of origin.

In a March 2 statement, the Mexican Bishops’ Conference’s migrant ministry strongly criticized the police for charging into the cathedral’s dining facilities to pursue some migrants, “using violence to physically and psychologically harm the people,” leaving at least one person injured.

The conference also strongly condemned these types of events where police act arbitrarily and without adherence to legal protocols, violating people’s human rights.

Given what happened, the migrant ministry announced that it will file “the corresponding complaints to the competent authorities and against whoever is responsible.”

“It is inadmissible for the authorities of any level of government to enter humanitarian assistance facilities for migrants and violate said places, which are also places dedicated to religious worship,” the statement stressed.

The bishop of Ciudad Juárez, José Guadalupe Torres Campos, also noted, in another statement, his “dissatisfaction with the way in which they acted” and asked “that this type of situation not be repeated neither at the cathedral or in any other shelter in our city.”

Torres explained that a meeting was held on March 2 with the secretary of municipal public security, César Omar Muñoz Morales, in order to prevent these violent acts from being repeated.

In his statement Torres said that Muñoz “promised that similar situations would not be repeated, giving precise instructions for collaboration and monitoring of respect for human rights.”

“Trusting that we can all work together in all social work for the good of those most in need, I raise my prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of our cathedral and Empress of America, to help us all to see ourselves as children of the same God and brothers among us,” the bishop concluded.

According to Mexican news reports, the city police tried to stop and check the IDs of a group of foreign migrants. However, only the National Migration Institute’s agents have the authority to check migrants’ IDs. The migrants fled and the police pursued them into the cathedral’s dining area, where they were violently arrested.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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