Powered by IR Society at NYU

IR Insider is a production of NYU's International Relations Society. Our goal is to explain and discuss issues in IR in an engaging and thought-provoking fashion. We are written by students, for students, about issues students care about. 

Pope Francis Donates Half a Million Dollars to Help Migrants in Mexico

His Holiness Pope Francis has donated USD $500,000 to migrants in Mexico attempting to cross into the United States. These funds come from the Peter Pence Fund of the Catholic Church, which was set up to “provide the Holy Father with the financial means to respond to those who are suffering as a result of war, oppression, natural disaster, and disease.”

His Holiness Pope Francis  Photo: Reuters/  BBC News

His Holiness Pope Francis

Photo: Reuters/ BBC News

As caravans from Central America, notably from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador are stopped from entering into the United States, a migrant humanitarian crisis has emerged in Mexico.

The Office of Peter’s Pence gave a statement regarding the migrant situation and their decision to provide a donation, “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 statement adds, “In 2018, six migrant caravans entered Mexico... All these people were stranded, unable to enter the United States, without a home or livelihood.”  

The Peter’s Pence Office pointed out that aid to migrants, both from the public and the private sectors, has decreased, citing a reduced media coverage of this migrant crisis as the reason for reduced aid.

Just last week, the Mexican government detained nearly 400 migrants from Central America as pressure from the United States government to assist in hindering migration increases.

A camp of migrants alongside the US border in Tijuana, Mexico.  Photo:  Vatican News

A camp of migrants alongside the US border in Tijuana, Mexico.

Photo: Vatican News

The donation of USD $500,000 “will be distributed among 27 projects in 16 dioceses and among Mexican religious congregations that have asked for help in order to continue providing housing, food, and basic necessities to these our brothers and sisters.”

The Vatican has already approved projects managed by seven dioceses and the religious groups, the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the Hermanas Josefinas, and the Scalabrinians. These projects are set up to utilize the funds to alleviate the humanitarian crisis.

Father Javier Calvillo, director of the migrant shelter in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, commented on the negligence of the Mexican federal government as well as local governments regarding the migrant crisis, stating, “Nobody wants to take charge.”

Bishop Jaime Calderón of Tapachula expressed support towards the migrants, “We have spoken here of a humanitarian crisis and we believe, in accordance with our faith, we have to help. They are brothers.”

Earlier this year, Pope Francis drew attention to the anti-immigration rhetoric that is rising through populist movements throughout the world. Pope Francis called out political leaders who advocated for barriers to keep migrants out, “Builders of walls, be they made of razor wire or bricks, will end up becoming prisoners of the walls they build.”