Mexican bishop expresses Church’s concern for unaccompanied child migrants

migrants A group of migrants from South America crosses the Rio Bravo border between Mexico and the United States to request asylum. | Credit: David Peinado Romero/Shutterstock

Auxiliary Bishop Francisco Javier Acero of the Primatial Archdiocese of Mexico expressed the Church’s profound concern over the “waves of migrants” crossing the country and stressed that those who suffer the most are “unaccompanied minors.”

Speaking with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, Acero said that faced with the complexity of the drama of the migrants, “we are there as a Church accompanying them.”

The bishop pointed to the efforts of the Josephine Sisters who run the Home for Welcoming, Training, and Empowering Women and Migrant Families and Refugees (CAFEMIN) and praised the “commendable work of Sister Magdalena” and of the entire community, who receive migrant minors traveling alone and care for them.

Acero also noted that “during this time, which goes from a little before Easter up to now, the average number of the people who are cared for in all these homes goes from 600 to 900 daily.”

In addition, there are minors cared for by CAFEMIN who have been getting help with their schoolwork for two years. Working with lawyers, the ministry reunites the minors with the parents or relatives who live on the other side of the border.

Mexico is a country with a long history of migration, both of its citizens who go to the United States and of all the others who use its territory as a passageway to achieve the “American dream.”

According to the United States Customs and Border Protection, from July 2022 to March 2023 more than a million undocumented migrants have been detained at the southern border. Of these, 67,596 were unaccompanied minors.

In March alone, 191,900 undocumented migrants were apprehended at the border. More than 53% of them came from Mexico and Central American countries such as Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Three percent came from Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua.

According to the nongovernmental organization Save the Children, the majority of unaccompanied minors attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border “are asylum seekers left with no choice but to flee their homes.” Many of them, the organization indicated, are fleeing “unimaginable violence” as well as “crushing poverty” in countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show that most unaccompanied minors are between 15-17 years old but some are only 6 or 7.

The auxiliary bishop expressed his desire to establish “a humanitarian corridor” between Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America.

“This is a little more complex, since it takes a process, many meetings, meetings between the responsible bishops to see how they can help with the Churches and between the Churches,” Acero said.

The prelate encouraged people not to engender fear or alarm against migrants, because “with these attitudes what we are doing is spreading xenophobia,” which causes a country with its “inhabitants to be closed in on themselves and withdrawn. This is what we must not tolerate.”

Faced with those who think that migrants aren’t “worthy enough,” the prelate urged that “we as Catholics must be protagonists of this rescue. Every person has human dignity” and “the right to love.”

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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