The directors of Catholic-operated migrant shelters rejected a portrayal by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador that they mismanaged government money, saying they survived on donations and the good will of generous individuals.
They also said they were doing work the government has been derelict in handling as the waves of migrants moved through the country and thousands asylum seekers were being forced to wait on the Mexican side of the border as their cases proceed through US courts.
“The government does not help anybody,” said Fr Pat Murphy, director of the Scalabrinian shelter in Tijuana. “They used to give” – in past administrations – “but the Mexican government has cut off all aid they used to give to us.”
Scalabrinian Sr Leticia Gutierrez, former executive secretary of the Mexican bishops’ human mobility ministry, added on social media: ‘We have never received money from the government. Migrant shelters are independent and autonomous. We live off people’s solidarity and from foreign solidarity. (We) are not sustained by any authorities.’
Lopez Obrador set off the firestorm during a 17th June press conference, when he responded “yes” to a question on whether shelters would be operated by the government. He promised to open migrant shelters in the near future and also accused unnamed organisations of misappropriating public money.
Picture: People are seen waiting in line for dinner in this 25th April 2017 file photo at the Scalabrinian-run Casa del Migrante shelter in Tijuana, Mexico. The directors of Catholic-operated migrant shelters rejected a portrayal by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador that they mismanaged government money, saying they survived on donations and the good will of generous individuals. (CNS photo/David Maung).