“Our migrants should never feel to be bargaining chips”. It was written by the Episcopal Conference of Mexico in its message issued yesterday, on the agreement reached by the governments of Mexico and the United States about migration policy and customs duties. No negotiations shall neglect decisions or principles the Mexican Church has been defending for years: “Don’t criminalise migrants or defenders of human rights who are often fighting for human dignity against the tide, with serious risks for their safety”.
The Bishops pointed out that “Thousands of migrants are waiting for entering the US, to flee from violence and poverty in their countries of origin. Many others have been arrested and deported to Mexico, within the US unilateral programme ‘Stay in Mexico’, because of which thousands of Central American people have been expecting solutions to their migration situations; they are exposed to serious risks in Mexican border cities, without full access to legal assistance. As members of the human family, we cannot be indifferent to the pains many of them are suffering; our humanitarian aid is necessary, as well as full respect of their rights”.
Moreover, the Mexican Church is “convinced that a fair migration policy is necessary. On one hand, it should grant free, orderly, regulated and responsible transit of people; on the other hand, it should monitor the legitimate interest of our compatriots”.
In their appeal to the unity of all Mexicans, the Bishops are “officially” asking the governments of the US and Mexico “to find a permanent agreement to focus constantly on dialogue and clear negotiations in terms of international relations”, without yielding to the “easy temptations of blackmail and threat”. At the same time, the Church states to be ready to collaborate “with all the initiatives granting migrants more security and defence of human rights.