The Archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera, criticized what he termed the “xenophobic attitude” of the United States as news that construction of a 559-mile fence along the US-Mexican border to keep illegal immigrants out is moving ahead.
After celebrating Mass at the archdiocesan cathedral, the cardinal said such expressions of xenophobia were beneath the United States and any other country in the Americas.
“Mexican immigration to the US is due to the lack of well-paid jobs in this country, and not only does the Mexican government bear responsibility for this; so also do businesses,” he said. “Political corruption” has become one of the main factors behind immigration, Cardinal Rivera continued, although such a problem “didn’t just pop up yesterday; it has been with mankind from the beginning.”
He added that he believes the United States “has the right to protect its borders, but when this is set against the fundamental right that every human being has to seek out dignified employment, there must be dialogue.” The cardinal noted he had no intention of contacting the presidential candidates of the upcoming national elections in Mexico about the matter, but he did say he would ask the next Mexican president to address the issue.
The Archdiocese of Mexico’s newspaper, Desde la Fe, called effort to build the fence an “absurd anti-immigrant measure” and said the US was “myopic” in not recognizing “the need for the cheap labor that our fellow countrymen provide and that constitutes a foundation that enables a portion of the economy to thrive.”