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Network of Church-Run Migrant Shelters Wins Council's Top Mexican Award

David Agren - Catholic News Service
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February 11, 2015
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La Jornada, or the Journey, was a 5-week long excursion through the Migration Corridor, led by a group of 7 Jesuits. The intent of the program was to better understand the authentic experiences of migrant workers. INN met up with the group on their last day of the journey, in Nogales, Sonora, México. (IgnatianNewsNetwork)

A network of church-run migrant shelters across northern Mexico has won the top award from the national anti-discrimination council for its efforts to protect people traveling through the country without the proper papers.

The National Council to Prevent Discrimination, an autonomous agency funded by the federal government, recognized the Network of Migrant Houses and Human Rights Centers of the Northern Zone, which was founded 15 years ago, "for its outstanding contributions in the field of defending the rights of migrant persons."

Mexico is "a state of victims and victimizers, (where) discrimination is one of the most savage faces that migrants confront," said Fr. Pedro Pantoja, former director of the Belen, Inn of the Migrant shelter in Saltillo, at the Feb. 6 award ceremony. "(It) exceeds the threshold of the inhumane, of the most vile and most terrible humiliations."

The network in 14 cities has not always proved popular with the authorities and, in recent years, organized crime and drug cartels, which commit crimes against migrants such as kidnapping, extortion and sexual assaults. Crimes against the undocumented are often committed with the complicity of crooked police and public officials - something condemned by Father Pantoja, whose acceptance speech on behalf of the network mentioned several massacres of migrants and stories of victims being dismembered by kidnappers.

Read the rest at N

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