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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Mexican bishops call for migrant assistance at their southern border

The Mexican bishops’ conference has appealed for assistance for thousands of migrants stuck in Chiapas state as Mexican officials step up enforcement and stop issuing travel documents.

In a statement, the conference said it had asked the national chapter of Caritas to organise the assistance available in the country and channel it toward the city of Tapachula near the border with Guatemala, where migrants arriving from as far away as Cuba, Haiti and African countries have been stranded.

“We are concerned about the situation on the southern border, specifically what is being experienced in the city of Tapachula, Chiapas. The immense number of migrants…has exceeded the assistance of the Church and actions of the government,” the statement said.

It noted the Mexican immigration detention centres in Tapachula – scene of a mass escape in late April – “are saturated, which do not allow for humanitarian attention.” Migrants, who used to seek and receive documents allowing them free transit through Mexico, “roam the city seeking help.”

The bishops continued: “At the door to the southern border, there are thousands of our brothers, persons who have gone days without eating and sleep in the streets. There are children, elderly people, ill people and some pregnant women close to going into labour.”

Picture: A migrant shows his wallet while boarding a bus in Tapachula, Mexico, on 18th April 2019. The Mexican bishops’ conference appealed assistance for thousands of migrants stuck in Chiapas state as Mexican officials stepped up enforcement and stopped issuing travel documents. (CNS photo/Jose Cabezas, Reuters).