Christian Solidarity Worldwide, 20th April 2020
A religious leader and his colleague are kidnapped from a migrant shelter and not seen or heard from since. Another is assaulted, extorted and threatened at gunpoint. Both provided protection to migrants and asylum seekers trapped on the border. Religious leaders warn that threats and attacks against them are one of the most serious problems facing churches today in ironically one of the world’s most religious countries, Mexico.
The worsening situation for migrants and asylum seekers passing through Mexico has been exacerbated by the US Migrant Protection Program which has made it increasingly difficult for migrants to win asylum cases in the US, and many have sought refuge in church-run migrant shelters across Mexico while they wait.
While many Protestant and Catholic leaders have responded to the rising levels of need in an outworking of their faith by following commands to help the poor, their work increasingly exposes them to organised criminal groups who prey on the vulnerable migrant population.
High levels of fear engendered by the brutal and very public tactics of illegal groups targeting migrants and intimidating the population mean that church leaders and other victims are usually extremely reluctant to speak out. Members of criminal groups very rarely have to face any kind of justice and the consequences of speaking out against them are potentially too horrific to consider.