Monday, July 14, 2014

Joint Declaration of the Bishops of the United States, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras on the Child Migrant Crisis

Conferencia del Episcopado Mexicano (English translation by John Donaghy*)

Mexico City, July 10, 2014
CEM B. 142 / 2014

Profoundly moved by the suffering of thousands of children and adolescents who have migrated from Central America and Mexico to the United States and who now find themselves waiting to be deported, we, the bishops of the United States, Mexico, El Salvador, and Honduras, moved by the love of Christ, let all of them and their families know of our prayers, solidarity, and commitment.
These children left their countries pushed by the misery, the violence, or the desire to be reunited with their parents or family members who have migrated and, after confronting every type of deprivation and danger, now are living a terrible humanitarian crisis. This dramatic situation affects all of us and makes us commit ourselves to “globalize solidarity,” recognizing, respecting, promoting and defending the life, dignity, and rights of every person, independent of their condition as migrants.

In this sense we view hopefully the Managua Extraordinary Declaration, in which the member countries of the Regional Conference on Migration – Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, the Untied States, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and the Dominican Republic – have recognized their regional co-responsibility and have committed themselves to implement comprehensive and articulated measures to guarantee the better interests of children and adolescents, as well as family unity, to disseminate precise information in regard to the "dangers of the voyage" and the non-existence of  “permits” for those who arrive in the United States, to struggle against the organized criminal groups of illegal trafficking and human trafficking, and to improve migration practices.

An important aspect of the Declaration is the joint commitment to eradicate the structural causes that provoke the irregular migration of underage children, creating programs of social and economic development in the communities of origin, as well as programs of reinsertion and reintegration for those who return. Also, it recognizes that these child and adolescent migrants could obtain refugee status or complementary protection.

In this tenor, it is positive that Mexico has implemented the Coordination for Comprehensive Attention to Migration on the Southern Border and the creation of Comprehensive Care Centers for Border Transit in order to facilitate the secure admission of persons and goods, and to avoid the problems that have come about because of the migration disorder in the zone.

The Catholic Church, which has for many years been advocating with the governmental authorities of the US, Mexico, and Central America on behalf of migrants, will continue this labor. It will also continue working in human promotion, especially of  children, families, and the poorest, to restore the social fabric and offer welcome, attention, and services to migrants in the numerous centers created for them. The Church expresses it willingness to collaborate in order to make real the agreements of the Managua Declaration, convinced that a policy of dissuasion without national and international guarantees is ineffective and inhumane.

Therefore, we support the request that Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, Texas, has formulated to the Migration Committee of the US House of Representatives [House Judiciary Committee] to issue a declaration of a humanitarian crisis to give a comprehensive response to the problem by creating public policies which provide basic services and protection to migrants, examining the roots of the exodus of migrants, assigning federal resources to invest in the countries from which these migrants come in order to avoid the need to migrate, and providing programs of family reunification for migrants.

We bishops, your servants. reiterate the urgency of respecting the human dignity of the undocumented migrants, strengthening governmental institutions so that they may be authentically democratic, participatory, and at the service of the people, combating firmly the reprehensible activity of criminal groups and of organized crime whose inhuman action we strongly condemn, guaranteeing the security of citizens, and investing in Central America. In this sense, we call upon business owners, especially Catholics, to invest in and contribute to the promotion of justice and equity. We urge parents to not put their children in danger through undertaking the dangerous journey to Mexico and the United Sates. And we ask society in general to assume the role which it has in this sorrowful problem.

In the face of the humanitarian drama which we are suffering, we ought to listen to Pope Francis who with profound realism has warned: "Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples are reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence...It is evil crystallized in unjust social structures, which cannot be the basis of hope for a better future...Inequality is the root of social ills."

Imploring the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, we ask our Lord Jesus Christ to protect our children and their families in this difficult time and to give all of us the wisdom to find workable solutions, and the boldness and strength to act accordingly.

+Óscar A. Cardenal Rodríguez Maradiaga,S.D.B.
Archbishop of Tegucigalpa
President of the Honduran Bishops Conference

+J. Francisco Cardenal Robles Ortega
Archbishop of Guadalajara
President of the Mexican Bishops Conference

+Romeo Tovar Astorga
Bishop of Santa Ana
General Secretary of the El Salvadoran Bishops Conference

+Eugenio Lira Rugarcía
Auxiliary Bishop of Puebla
Secretary General of the Mexican Bishops Conference

+ Domingo Buezo Leiva
Bishop Vicar of Izabal
Secretary General of the Guatemalan Bishops Conference

+ Eusebio Elizondo
Bishop of Seattle
President of the Committee on Migration and Refugees of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops

+ Guillermo Ortíz Mondragón
Bishop of Cuautitlán
President of the Pastoral Section of the Ministry of Human Mobility of the Mexican Bishops Conference

* John "Juancito" Donaghy is an American Catholic lay missionary working in the diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras. You can read more about his work on his blog.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you to all the Catholic Bishops who see the devastation in Central America and are speaking in support of those being affected by conditions in the area. The world will never change if we don't "afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted." Thank you for speaking out. God bless you all.

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