Jan. 25th marked the one-year anniversary of the U.S. government’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” Policy. Nearly 60,000 migrants have been affected by the MPP, which forces asylum-seekers to return to Mexico until their hearing date before a U.S. judge. In crowded shelters and encampments, asylum-seekers wait for months for their cases to be heard. To date, fewer than 1% have been granted protection in the U.S.
The MPP is troubling for multiple reasons. First, many legal experts have suggested that it violates U.S. obligations under international law. Second, the safety of the asylum-seekers is at risk. A recent investigation by Human Rights First found more than 800 public reports of murder, torture, rape and kidnapping against asylum-seekers while waiting in Mexico. This includes 200 kidnappings or attempted kidnappings of children.
Finally, the MPP is inconsistent with Catholic principles, such as solidarity and compassion. In the Gospel of Matthew, it says, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (25:35). A shared humanity can be found in these asylum-seekers, who are often escaping poverty and extreme violence in their home countries. If we had been born into their situation, would we not be doing the same?
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for the reversal of the MPP: “We steadfastly affirm a person’s right to seek asylum and find recent efforts to curtail and deter that right deeply troubling” (3/13/19).
Please pray for the safety of these migrants. Please also call upon our leaders to help address the root causes of migration and to adopt immigration policies that promote human dignity.
St. Patrick’s Parish