The bishops of Mexico on Thursday reacted to United States’ president Donald Trump’s executive order to build a wall on the nations’ border by urging a more thoughtful response to legitimate security concerns.
“We express our pain and rejection over the construction of this wall, and we respectfully invite you to reflect more deeply about the ways security, development, growth in employment, and other measures, necessary and just, can be procured without causing further harm to those already suffering, the poorest and most vulnerable,” the Mexican bishops’ conference said Jan. 26 in a message titled “Value and Respect for Migrants”.
Trump had Jan. 25 ordered a wall to be built on the U.S.-Mexico border. An estimated 650 miles of the 1,900 mile-long U.S.-Mexico border have a wall constructed currently.
The Mexican bishops noted that for more than 20 years, the prelates of “the northern border of Mexico and the southern border of the United States have been working” to achieve “the best care for the faithful that live in the sister countries, properly seen as a single city (from a faith perspective); communities of faith served by two dioceses (such as Matamoros and Brownsville, or Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, for example).”
“What pains us foremost is that many people who live out their family relationships, their faith, work or friendships will be shut out even more by this inhuman interference,” they lamented.
The bishops recalled the statement of Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin, head of the United States bishops’ committee on immigration, that “this action will put immigrant lives needlessly in harm’s way. Construction of such a wall will only make migrants, especially vulnerable women and children, more susceptible to traffickers and smugglers. Additionally, the construction of such a wall destabilizes the many vibrant and beautifully interconnected communities that live peacefully along the border.”
The bishops of Mexico said that “we will continue to be close to and support with solidarity so many of our brothers coming from Central and South America, who come in transit through our country to the United States”
The prelates also encouraged Mexico’s authorities “in talks and seeking agreements with the United States, to advocate for just ways, which safeguard dignity and respect for persons, regardless of nationality, creed, and above all, appreciating the richness they bring in their quest for better opportunities in life. Each person has an intrinsic and invaluable worth as a child of God.”
The bishops expressed their respect for the right of the U.S. government to have its border respected, but said they do not consider “a rigorous and intense application of the law to be the way to achieve its goals, and that on the contrary these actions create alarm and fear among immigrants, breaking up families without further consideration.”
The prelates concluded their statement asking Our Lady of Guadalupe to “accompany those in both countries who are responsible for negotiations” and to “bring consolation and provide protection for our brother migrants.”