Mexican priest advocates for immigrant rights

Rev. Alejandro Solalinde, a Mexican priest, is speaking in Chicago this weekend in support of immigrant rights.

Solalinde, is based in Oaxaca, Mexico, where he runs a shelter for Central American migrants. He has been a vocal critic of Mexican gangs and police who abuse and extort migrants traveling through Mexico trying to reach the United States.

The priest has struggled to work within the Catholic Church, as some church officials have not been fully supportive of his advocacy.

He also has received death threats for his work defending migrant rights and speaking out against police and gangs, according to Amnesty International.

Amnesty International will give the priest an award while he is here in Chicago.

This visit is part of a national tour called "Caravan of Hope," and Solalinde is speaking coast to coast and ending in Washington, D.C. in late May.

“There is enormous impunity in Mexico. If crimes against Mexicans are never punished, well even less so for those against migrants,” the priest told the New York Times in 2012.

Solalinde is speaking Friday at 10 a.m. at the Azteca Mall, 3200 S. Kedzie Ave., and at 3 p.m. at the DePaul University Center, 1 E. Jackson Blvd.

On Saturday morning, he will visit the Rainbow PUSH Coalition with the Rev. Jesse Jackson and at 7 p.m. he will speak at St. Helena's Episcopal Church in Burr Ridge.

On Sunday at 10 a.m. he will visit The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe  in Des Plaines and at 3:00 p.m.  he will walk with supporters from the Cook County Jail at 26th Street and California Avenue along 26th Street through the Little Village neighborhood.

For more information check out the caravan's Facebook page.

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