The Catholic bishop of Tapachula, Mexico, has promised assistance to members of the migrant caravan that is gearing up to march from Honduras to the United States.
Bishop Jaime Calderón Calderón said that the Catholic Church is prepared to provide humanitarian aid to members of the migrant caravan that is scheduled to depart on January 15 and 16 from the city of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, bound for the United States.
“We are on the lookout. We know that a new caravan is coming and we have assembled an emergency team to provide humanitarian aid, so when we are told to come help, we will help,” the bishop told journalists.
Calderón, whose diocese in southwest Mexico is located near the border with Guatemala, said that he was apprised of the plans for a new migrant caravan because he is in contact with bishops of the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador) on social media. Those preparing to leave the country are fleeing due to problems of violence and a lack of job opportunities, he said.
The experiences of October 2018, when the first caravan of Central American migrants arrived in Mexican territory, has prepared the local church to provide more efficient service this time, explained the bishop, who was appointed to the diocese of Tapachula by Pope Francis in 2018.
For years, the Catholic Church in the region has maintained a structure of humanitarian aid through shelters due to the intense and constant migratory flow coming across the Guatemalan border into Mexico.
“We know that now Mexican law changed from openness to all-out rejection, since they have built human walls,” he said.
The bishop has also called on the migrants to come in peace. “We want to tell them that we are people of peace and whoever comes to our country we tell them that just as we are willing to defend the rights of anyone, we also want them to come in that spirit of peace.”
“When there were outbreaks of violence we said that violence is not the way to enter a country, let alone the way to solve the problems from which they are fleeing,” the bishop said.
Calderón also called on the relevant authorities to pay closer attention to this migration problem, which in recent years has seen an intensification due to the arrival of thousands of migrants from Africa, Asia, Cuba, Haiti, and Central America.
“It is a situation that demands attention,” he said. “While it may seem to be solved, in reality, thousands of migrants swarm all over the city and we are concerned that they do not resolve their situation and their rights are not always respected along with the agreements that protect them internationally.”