- Jan 16, 2021
Davenport Bishop Thomas R. Zinkula has asked the chief of Homeland Security in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to release three Guatemalan immigrant detainees because the COVID-19 pandemic “places immigrants being detained in a very vulnerable situation.”
Catholic field workers in Central America say the Trump administration’s decision to cut off funding to the region is worsening the pandemic.
Migrants returning from the United States were once considered heroes in Guatemala, where the money they send back to their hometowns is a mainstay of the economy. But since the coronavirus pandemic hit, migrants in town after town have been mistreated, run off or threatened by neighbors who fear they will bring the virus back with them from the United States.
Guatemala’s bishops have criticized continued deportations during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the practice has “no sense of humanity” during a health crisis.
Catholic migrant ministries of Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras have called for an end to deportations during the COVID-19 crisis, saying the practice exposes an already vulnerable group to health and security risks — especially those sent summarily to countries of which they are not citizens.
The secretary-general of the Mexican bishops’ conference expressed dismay at the sight of Mexican security forces scuffling with a caravan of Central American migrants trying to enter the country via its southern border with Guatemala.