Thursday, April 12, 2018

US and Mexican Bishops Express Concern about Border Militarization



APRIL 7, 2018

To all Mexicans on national territory and beyond our borders
To all believers and non-believers in Jesus Christ in Mexico and the United States
To the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump
To the President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto

1. For the first time in the history of the Catholic Church in Mexico, the undersigned Bishops are addressing to all the inhabitants of Mexico and the United States, regardless of their religious convictions, and in a very special way and with great respect, to the Presidents of our respective countries, for the reason of the deployment of troops of the National American Guard at the frontiers that delimits our territories.

2. The Catholic Church in fidelity in the faith to Jesus Christ, cannot ignore the suffering of our migrant brothers who are looking for better living conditions crossing the border to work and contributing to the common good, not only for their families but also for the brother country that receives them.

3. We know that the present and future migratory flows will require a renewed regulation by both nations. Moreover, we are not oblivious to the fact that a constitutive dimension of a prosperous and peaceful society is the effective exercise of the Rule of Law. However, not all rule, nor all political or military decision, by the simple act of promulgating or defining it, is just and consistent with human rights.

4. If there has been a historical lesson that we as society have learned based on the experience of the global conflicts during the XX Century, this is, what’s legal needs to be legitimate; that the inalienable dignity of the human person is the true source of law; that the pain of the most vulnerable must be understood as a supreme law and fundamental criterion for the development of the peoples and the building of a future with peace. That is the profound origin of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That is the universal foundation of a fraternal coexisting among nations.

5. For these reasons, Mexican Bishops wish to repeat what we said one year ago: “the cry of the migrants is our cry.” Their pain is our pain! Each migrant that gets hurt in his/her dignity and in his/her rights, Jesus Christ is once again crucified!

6. Mexican past and present governments have a grave responsibility for not having created enough development opportunities for our poor and marginalized people. For this reason, our incipient democracy has an enormous challenge in the near future: choose the people that must lead honestly, without corruption and impunity, a historic change that will help the people of Mexico to be the principal agent of his or her development, this, with peace, justice, and full respect of human rights. A road that involves, not to close, but to be open to the dynamic of the new global world, increasingly interdependent and needed of solidarity and cooperation.

7. However, the unfulfilled needs that Mexican people have cannot be justified to promote the antagonism between peoples that are called to be friends and brothers. It is not conforming to human dignity, and the best reasons and arguments thought of by men like Abraham Lincon or Bartholomew de las Casas, to build up barriers to divide us or implement actions to violate us. Migrants are not criminals, but vulnerable human beings that have the right to their personal and community development.

8.From there the defense that the Church makes on a universal level, and in a special way through the work done between the brotherly peoples: Mexico and the U.S.A., with Central America, the Caribbean, Latin America and Canada, in this necessary attention to our migrant brothers.

9. There is only one future in the promotion and defense of the equal dignity and of the equal freedom among human beings. The frontier between Mexico and the United States “it is not a war zone,” said by our Bishop brothers of the United States. On the contrary, this zone has been called to be an example of linkage and co-responsibility. The only possible future for our region is the future built with bridges of confidence and shared development, not with indignity and violence walls. Furthermore, Pope Francis has said to all of us: “A person that only thinks in building walls, wherever they may be, and not to build bridges, is not a Christian. This is not the Gospel”.

10. For the dignity of migrants and the dignity of all inhabitants of our countries, we propose to consume all our energies in the development of other types of solutions. By this we mean, solutions that can sow the seeds of fraternity and mutual enrichment in the humanitarian, cultural and social order.

11.That the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mother of the True God for whom we live and Patroness of our Freedom, may bless those who govern us, and our peoples. May She sustains us in the effort of improving our nations, and of all our region, a space of fraternal reconciliation, integral development, and service of solidarity to the poorest that will inspire the whole world.

By the Bishops of the Presidency Council (see full list of signers HERE)  

U.S. Catholic bishops of U.S./Mexico border respond to U.S. National Guard deployment

In response to announcements regarding deploying the United States National Guard to the U.S./Mexico Border, the U.S. Catholic Bishops of the U.S./Mexico Border issued a statement.

We are deeply concerned by the announcement that the National Guard will be deployed on the U.S./Mexico Border. The continued militarization of the U.S./Mexico Border distorts the reality of life on the border; this is not a war zone but instead is comprised of many peaceful and law-abiding communities that are also generous in their response to human suffering. We recognize the right of nations to control and secure their borders; we also recognize the need of nations to respect the rule of law. Current law in the United States rightly provides that those arriving to our country fleeing persecution are entitled to due-process as their claims are reviewed. Seeking refuge from persecution and violence in search of a peaceful life for oneself and one’s family is not a crime. Our faith calls us to respond with compassion to those who suffer, and to live in a spirit of solidarity with all human beings. We remain hopeful that our local, state and federal officials will work collaboratively and prudently in the implementation of this deployment, ensuring that the presence of the National Guard is measured and not disruptive to community life. We are also deeply concerned that at this time divisive rhetoric often promotes the dehumanization of immigrants, as if all were threats and criminals. We urge Catholics and people of good will to look past the dehumanizing rhetoric regarding immigrants and remember that they are a vulnerable population, our neighbors, and our sisters and brothers in Christ.

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