Mexican and Central American Bishops Address Woes of Immigrants

Ask Governments to Safeguard Rights

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CIUDAD QUESADA, Costa Rica, FEB. 21, 2003 ( Bishops of Central America and Mexico appealed to governments of the region to give more just and humane treatment to immigrants.

The joint message is the result of a meeting of the national directors of human mobility pastoral care endeavors in Central America and Mexico, and a secretariat of the Latin American bishops’ council. The meeting was held here Feb. 14-15.

Concerned about the causes of the massive migratory movements to the United States, Mexico and Central America, the bishops said that the gap between the rich and the poor countries of the region is growing ever wider, as values deteriorate.

The bishops also cited the increase of corruption, impunity, violence and social insecurity.

In particular, they expressed concern over the social consequences that might ensue from the application of the free-trade treaty between Central America and the United States, the Free Trade Area of the Americas, and the Puebla Panama Plan.

«We are not opposed, but we do call for an economic system that will redistribute the wealth it generates with equity and justice,» the bishops said.

They added: «Together with the bishops of the United States and Mexico, in their pastoral letter ‘Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope,’ we appeal to governments for more generous, just, and humane treatment for all migrants and request that migratory policies not foster xenophobic or racist attitudes, so that migrants’ rights and human dignity are protected.»

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