Pope Francis humanizes refugee crisis at US Mexico border
The crisis should be measured in names, stories and families.
Pope Francis rounded out his 6-day visit to Mexico in the city of Juarez along the US border.
Large crowds gathered on both sides of the border and the pope used the occasion to add another chapter to his social justice campaign.
On this trip, he already discussed poverty, inequality, drug trafficking and gang violence, as well as corruption. This time, he threw his weight behind another fraught subject: immigration.
More specifically, Francis discussed the overlooked refugee crisis of Central America that’s unfurling through Mexico and the US.
In recent months, the US and Mexico have collaborated on an unprecedented crackdown on these refugees and migrants who are, in many cases, fleeing death.
El Salvador and Honduras, for example, are the deadliest countries outside of a war zone. Yet, the refugees making it to safety are treated like criminals and are rounded up and deported.
Even though these people are enduring grave injustices, their plight has mostly been engulfed by the US-Mexico immigration dispute regionally and overshadowed internationally by the Syrian refugee crisis.
In Juarez, Pope Francis called for an end to this neglect because tens of thousands of lives are at stake.
He asked people to stop resorting to numbers and statistics to explain the situation.
Instead, the crisis should be “measure[d] in names, stories, families.”
When people realize that there are teenage boys and young mothers behind the statistics of people fleeing violence, ignoring the situation will become more difficult and helping out will seem more necessary.
Instead of focusing on building walls to keep people out, Pope Francis called for bridges to be built to promote peace.
He even called out US presidential aspirant Donald Trump for his obsession with building a wall.
Although the pope’s stay in Mexico has come to an end, it will likely have a lasting impact. This was his first visit to Mexico following the start of his papacy. The Mexican people needed a boost from a global crusader against inequality and the pope delivered rousing messages that everyone can rally around.