Pope Sends Money to Migrant Caravans Trying to Enter U.S.

published 2019-04-28 07:25:25 by Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D.

Pope Francis is sending a half million dollars to help migrants in Mexico who are trying to reach the United States, according to a report Saturday from Vatican News.

“Pope Francis has donated 500,000 dollars to assist migrants in Mexico. The funds, from the Peter’s Pence collections, will be distributed among 27 projects promoted by sixteen Mexican dioceses and religious congregations, which requested assistance in continuing to provide food, lodging, and basic necessities to the migrants,” the report declares.

The article notes that in recent months, “thousands of migrants have arrived in Mexico, having travelled more than 4,000 kilometres on foot and with makeshift vehicles from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.”

“Men and women, often with young children, flee poverty and violence, hoping for a better future in the United States. However, the US border remains closed to them,” the text states.

The money is intended “to assist the more than 75,000 people who arrived in Mexico in 2018 in six migrant caravans,” the article states. These people “were stranded, unable to enter the United States, without a home or livelihood” and therefore the Catholic Church has hosted “thousands of them in hotels within the dioceses or religious congregations, providing basic necessities, from housing to clothing.”

The article laments declining media attention on the migrant caravans, which has reportedly resulted in decreased government and private financial aid to migrants.

According to Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, some of the migrant caravans marching toward the U.S.-Mexico border were organized by Honduran “leftist groups” and “financed by Venezuela” in order to challenge U.S. sovereignty.

For his part, Guatemalan head of intelligence Mario Duarte said this past February that the caravans heading toward the border are “well-planned” and “well-organized” by those wanting to “weaponize those in need.”

“This was not a spontaneous event. It was well-planned. It was well-organized,” Duarte said, adding that different intelligence, law enforcement, and military agencies found evidence that last October’s caravan from Honduras to the U.S. was not a grass-roots initiative but had been organized in advance.

Pope Francis has made support for immigration a defining theme of his pontificate and has urged nations to be more welcoming toward migrants.

Earlier this month, the pope said that migrants bring with them the wealth of a multicultural and multi-ethnic world, thereby enriching their host nations.

“Let us thank God for a multi-ethnic and multicultural society,” the pope told students and faculty of the San Carlo school of Milan who came to see him in the Vatican, “because dialogue among cultures, persons, and ethnicities is richness.”

“We must not be afraid of the water of life, of this multiethnicity, of this multiculturalism,” Francis said, “and here I touch on a sore topic: don’t be afraid of migrants.”

“Migrants are those who always bring us riches. Europe itself was made by migrants! The barbarians, the Celts… all these came from the north and brought their cultures with them. Europe grew in this way, with the contrast of cultures,” he said.

On March 31, Francis attacked  U.S. President Donald Trump over his proposed border wall. Asked by a reporter what he thought of Trump’s wall, the pope warned that “builders of walls, whether they are of razor-wire or brick, will become prisoners of the walls they build. That’s history.”

We need bridges and “we feel pain when we see people who prefer to build walls,” he said.

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