U.S. Bishops Call for Greater Solidarity with Migrants

TOPSHOT - Migrants wait to receive food donated by people from the Community Center for Migrant Assistance in the community of Caborca in Sonora state, Mexico, on January 13, 2017. Hundreds of Central American and Mexican migrants attempt to cross the US border daily. / AFP PHOTO / ALFREDO ESTRELLA …
ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images

Bishops in the U.S. have released a statement calling for solidarity with immigrants in preparation for the observation of National Migration Week from January 5-11, 2020.

“Globally, there are more than 70 million people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes due to political instability, violence, and economic hardship,” reads the January 2 statement, which has been posted in the website of the Bishops’ conference (USCCB).

“Pope Francis has challenged people to move from a culture of ‘indifference’ to a culture of solidarity, which will help them to embrace the poor and marginalized, and those struggling to find a better life,” it reads.

The theme for this year’s observance of National Migration Week is “Promoting a Church and a World for All,” the text states, which “reflects the Church as a welcoming place for all God’s children.”

The statement is accompanied by remarks by Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration.

“As a founding principle of our country, we have always welcomed immigrant and refugee populations, and through the social services and good works of the Church, we have accompanied our brothers and sisters in integrating to daily American life,” Dorsonville said.

“National Migration Week is an opportunity for the Church to prayerfully unite and live out the Holy Father’s vision to welcome immigrants and refugees into our communities and to provide opportunities that will help them and all people of good will to thrive,” he concluded.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, for the sake of the common good, political authorities “may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants’ duties toward their country of adoption.”

“Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens,” the Catechism teaches.

The United Nations, in its historic Universal Declaration of Human Rights, declared that everyone “has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state,” adding that everyone “has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”

The U.N. Declaration never proposed a corresponding right to immigrate into any nation or an obligation to receive anyone wishing to enter. Some have proposed that the right to migrate is like the right to marry. Both require someone else willing to accept you.

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