MEXICO CITY – A prominent Mexican bishop called on the government Thursday to conduct a full investigation into the recent discovery of 19 cremated bodies in northern Mexico believed to be Guatemalan migrants.
The Mexican federal government should guarantee the rights of migrants on Mexican territory and establish humane policies, added Bishop José Torres, the Mexican Catholic Church’s spokesman for migration, in a letter from Reuters, addressing President Andres Manuel López Obrador and other officials .
The Mexican authorities recovered the bodies in the border state of Tamaulipas over the weekend. Many had gunshot wounds and were badly charred. Guatemalan families who believe relatives moving north are among the victims have provided DNA samples to confirm their identities.
“In the name of the highest human values, we ask the federal government to conduct a full investigation,” said Torres, who oversees 120 accommodations for migrants. He said a lack of legal options is driving migrants to dangerous, secret networks.
Immigration from Central America and Mexico has returned to the foreground of regional policy since US President Joe Biden took office earlier this month to lift some restrictions imposed by predecessor Donald Trump.
“One of the factors contributing to this type of tragedy is the implementation of repressive immigration policies and the persecution of migrants who are just looking for better living conditions for themselves and their families,” said Torres.
The authorities have not established the identity of the victims or the perpetrators. Tamaulipas Governor Francisco García said Thursday the murders were an “outrage”.
Every year, thousands of Central Americans and Mexicans flee poverty and violence to ensure the security and economic stability of the United States. Many are victims of crime on the dangerous journey that includes the vast Mexican territory.
Tamaulipas is an important migration route and a place of cartel conflicts.
“It is a priority that the federal government establish fair, safe and orderly immigration policies,” said Torres.
Mexico’s Interior Minister Olga Sánchez vowed this week that the case would not go unpunished.