Catholic bishops are critical of the deal between Mexico and the United States under which Mexico has agreed to step up enforcement against undocumented migrants.
The Mexican Episcopal Conference (CEM), the highest authority of the Catholic Church in Mexico, said the planned deployment of 6,000 members of the National Guard to the southern border would amount to turning Mexico into a border wall.
“If as Mexicans, we’ve rejected the construction of a border wall, we can’t turn ourselves into that wall,” the statement read.
The bishops also questioned whether stricter enforcement can really solve the migration issue.
“Sending 6,000 members of the National Guard to the southern border doesn’t address the true root causes of the phenomenon of migration,” they said. “It seems that the goal of fighting poverty and inequality in Mexico and Central America has been substituted with fear of the other, of our brothers and sisters.”
The church urged Mexico and the United States to reconsider their migration policies, and promised to continue to provide humanitarian aid to migrants in Mexico.
“We remain firm in our commitment to give migrants the humanitarian aid they need as they travel through our territory,” they said. “We express our respect and recognition of the thousands of men and women from the Catholic Church, from other churches and from civil society who have, for decades, risked their lives to defend the fundamental rights of migrants in Mexico, the United States and Central America.”
Under the deal, which was signed last Friday by representatives of the U.S. and Mexican governments, Mexico will crack down on migration on its southern border, and will allow people seeking asylum in the United States to remain in Mexico while their claims are being processed.
In exchange, U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew a threat to impose a 5% tariff on all Mexican imports.