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.
“Our nation has had a long and proud history of providing humane treatment to and due process for asylum seekers. I urge us to reject policies and proposals that would abandon this tradition, and I ask our government to remember that those fleeing to our border are not the “other” but fellow children of God.”
We are called to listen to the testimony of our sisters and brothers in the Philippines and Fiji by addressing climate change and reducing our contribution to extreme weather events and the rising sea levels which destroy their lives and devastate their island nations.
Communion is distributed between the gaps in the border wall at the All Soul’s Day Mass in El Paso, TX/Ciudad Juarez, MX
Migration is one of the major social phenomena of our time, a “sign of our times,” and the Gospel invites us to welcome the migrant as we would welcome Christ. We believe that we are called to both serve the needs of migrants everywhere, and to address the root causes of migration so that people and their families have the choice to remain at home.
photo: Vicki (far left) and her border delegation visit the "Buen Pastor (Good Shepherd)" tutoring and scholarship program
With so much heated rhetoric and misinformation out there, it’s hard to have a clear picture about what’s really happening in the US/Mexico border region. That’s why we think it’s crucial to listen to the people who know best: border residents. One way to do that is to visit the border region in person.
photo: Cynthia (left) at the Columban Mission Center with Fr. Bob Mosher (Director, center) and another intern
With so much heated rhetoric and misinformation out there, it’s hard to have a clear picture about what’s really happening in the US/Mexico border region. That’s why we think it’s crucial to listen to the people who know it best: border residents.
Copyright © 2021 Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Washington, D.C.