Migration & Refugees

We are called to welcome the stranger.

Columban missionaries serve migrants and refugees in a dozen countries throughout Asia Pacific and the Americas, as well as on the U.S. – Mexico border. Keeping in mind the Gospel mandate and our Catholic Social Teaching, we strive to “welcome the stranger” and to protect and promote the rights of migrants and refugees everywhere.

As Columbans, we believe we are called to both serve the needs of migrants and to address the root causes of migration.

We advocate for action on root causes of migration.

In 2015, the number of migrants internationally reached 244 million, including 20 million refugees (UN Migration). These include economic migrants compelled to move to feed their families, refugees and internally displaced persons fleeing persecution and environmental crises, and victims of human trafficking.

We recognize the right to migrate in order to seek both safety and a higher quality of life, but often global economic policies, environmental crises, and conflicts result in grave inequalities and unstable conditions forcing people to move. As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has recognized, “all peoples have the right to conditions worthy of human life and, if these conditions are not present, the right to migrate.”

We advocate for compassionate immigration reform.

Columbans respond to the harsh realities that migrants face, including separation from their families and imprisonment in detention centers and jails. Compassionate immigration reform is necessary to ensure family unity, protect the rights and dignity of migrants, and heal our communities.

On the U.S. – Mexico Border, countless migrants have risked death and deportation to cross into the U.S. in order to flee the violence and instability in their home countries. In the midst of a destructive militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border, Columbans call for a more compassionate border policy that affirms the dignity of migrants and celebrates the vibrancy and importance of border communities which continue to welcome our migrant brothers and sisters.

We advocate for reforms to stop human trafficking.

Migrants and refugees are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking. Victims of human trafficking often leave their home countries to seek better economic conditions to support their families. This too can lead to exploitation of migrants, putting them in danger of death or serious injury, sexual abuse, and low wages. As God calls us to respect the dignity of every human life, we must continue to support policies that represent the interests of migrant workers and refugees.

Migration Resources:

 

Migration & Refugees

  • Action Alert: Sorrow & Mourning Flee Away!

    Bishop Mark Seitz greeting migrants during the annual mass at the US/Mexico border

    We are almost halfway through the Summer of Action!

    HERE’S A QUICK RECAP:
    Congress is currently working through the process of funding the federal government for the coming fiscal year. The proposals we’ve seen so far do not line up with our values of welcome, family unity, and solidarity with the vulnerable. The House of Representatives is working to vote on such a budget package THIS WEEK.

  • On the Border of Hope: Two Trips to the US/Mexico Border

    Monica and her border trip companions visiting with Jorge.

    In his letter Bishop Mark Seitz reminds us that “every human being bears within him or her the image of God, which confers upon us a dignity higher than any passport or immigration status.” This applies to not only migrants but also border patrol agents, deportation agents and deported persons, judges, and lawyers. Each one of us is a child of God.

  • What are you doing this summer?

    Last week in partnership with the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, we kicked off this Summer of Action to make sure the federal budget reflects our commitment to uphold the dignity of our migrant sisters and brothers. The president has already requested billions of dollars over last year’s funding for immigration enforcement, including proposals that would...

  • Join the 2017 Summer of Action!

    Over the past few months, we have witnessed consistent rhetoric and actions that negatively impact the communities Columbans serve. From executive actions that unnecessarily increase militarization at the US/Mexico border to the announcement of the end of our participation in the Paris climate agreement, the actions of the administration do not align with Gospel values...

  • The D.C. Effect

    My first visit to Washington D.C. was a short one, three days to be exact. Before arriving, I had settled on a short list of things I needed to see in my short time here: visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Archives. Little did I know the profound effect visiting these places would have on me. After a tour of the Holocaust museum, I was lead into a small lobby where a poster read: “The next time you witness hatred, the next time you see injustice, think about what you saw....

  • The Joy of Welcoming the Stranger

    Parishioners at St. Catherine of Alexandria Church in Kapaa on the Island of Kauai in Hawaii are known for their tradition of warmly greeting visitors and their outreach to those in need. At each liturgy, a parishioner with a big smile encounters a visitor and warmly says, “Aloha.” Then, each visitor receives beautiful hand-knit lei from the parish. When my spouse and I received our leis, a parishioner told us that each lei represents joining St. Catherine of Alexandria Church with each visitor’s home parish to make one community...

  • A Long-Distance Phone Call on Mother’s Day

    On this Mother’s Day, I will be sure to call my mom. Even across the world from her, I will remember the second Sunday of May, a day on which I always tell my mother how grateful I am to be her son. But on this Mother’s Day, May 14, I will challenge myself anew to acknowledge and express gratitude to the many other supporters of their families whom I encounter, even those who don’t lead their families in exactly the same way as my mother leads mine. Mariel has seen her 16-year-old son only a handful of times...

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