Auxiliary Bishop Enrique Sanchez Martinez of Durango, Mexico is asking Catholics in his country to be hospitable to immigrants and refugees who enter Mexico through its southern border.
He asked Catholics to welcome the immigrants, just as “we ask ... our family members, friends and fellow Mexicans” to be treated in the United States.
In a letter to mark the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will be celebrated Jan. 16, Bishop Sanchez said the Church recognizes the right of people to move from one country to another, as well as the right of countries to regulate immigration. He added that the Church calls on immigrants to “assimilate into the countries where they settle and to respect laws and the national identity.”
Bishop Sanchez, whose diocese is located in central Mexico, said immigration is a social phenomenon accentuated by globalization and requires firm and decisive international cooperation. No country alone can “confront the current problems of immigration,” he added.
In the case of Mexico, he said, the immigration crisis has worsened in recent months due to massive deportations and murders on the U.S. border, and exploitation, corruption and crime on the southern border with Guatemala.
He stressed that the plight of refugees and other persons forced to leave their countries not be forgotten, “because they are a relevant part of the immigration phenomenon.” Respect for their rights, as well as the just concerns over security and assimilation, should be part of stable and harmonious society, the bishop said.
Welcoming refugees and providing them hospitality is gesture that human solidarity requires of all, he added.