Pope Francis decries injustices and violence suffered by Central American migrants

El Paso (USA), 18 February 2016 - Concluding his six-day visit to Mexico by celebrating Mass in Ciudad Juárez, just meters away from the United States border, Pope Francis delivered yesterday a heartfelt homily decrying the grave injustices which many Central American immigrants suffer throughout their journeys.

The Pope celebrates Mass in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Photo credit: L'Osservatore RomanoThe Pope celebrates Mass in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Photo credit: L'Osservatore Romano

Surrounded by a crowd of 200,000 people and with 30,000 more watching the live streaming from an El Paso stadium across the border, Pope Francis spoke about the “human tragedy that is forced migration”, a true humanitarian crisis which obliges so many to face incredible hardship - violence, extortion, even trafficking and enslavement. “Being faced with so many legal vacuums”, the Pope denounced, migrants “get caught up in a web that ensnares and always destroys the poorest”. The young, he added, are the primary victims of this injustice, and suffer terrible abuses while trying to escape the abyss created by violence and trafficking.

The Holy Father particularly praised the work of civil organizations supporting the rights of migrants, as well as that of the countless religious, priests and lay people defending the migrants' lives, often at the expense of their own. “No more death!  No more exploitation! There is still time to change”, the Holy Father concluded, just before boarding his Rome-bound flight in the evening.

An official translation of Pope Francis’ complete homily - originally delivered in Spanish - is available on the website of the Vatican Radio