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

  • Lenten Reflection: Mournful Women Weeping

    At the presentation of Jesus in the temple, Simeon told Mary that a sword would pierce her: “and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:35) Although no actual physical harm came to Mary, Simeon’s prophesy came true. The sword that pierced her was the anguish, grief, and sorrow she experienced as her Son was crucified. Her sorrows were the focus of the 13th century poem Stabat Mater Dolorosa (The Sorrowful Mother Stood), which was...

  • Columbans Call for Policy that Reflects Pope Francis' Message of Mercy at the Border

    Pope Francis’ historic visit to Mexico culminated in a visit to Ciudad Juarez, a city along the Mexico-US border, where he blessed migrants and celebrated mass with more than 300,000 faithful. By holding mass in such a politically and geographically significant location, the pope affirmed the Columban commitment to just and merciful migration and border policies. Columbans have lived and worked in both Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas, cities separated by...

  • Pope to Visit the U.S.-Mexico Border

    This Friday, Pope Francis’ plane will arrive in Mexico City, Mexico, marking the beginning of another historical visit on behalf of the Argentinian pontiff. For six days, the pope plans to travel to various parts of the country, meeting with everyone from indigenous representatives to the Bishops of Mexico and many more. His visit will culminate in a celebration of mass in Ciudad Juarez, directly on the U.S.-Mexico border, a place very familiar to the Columban community....

  • A Stranger, and You Welcomed Me

    Welcome to 2016! We are excited to begin a new year of advocating for justice, peace, and integrity of creation with all of you. Your support and commitment throughout the past year was inspirational and we invite you to continue your advocacy efforts in this extraordinary jubilee year, The Year of Mercy. To prepare for a year that calls us to practice radical and merciful love, we are celebrating the annual National Migration Week, sponsored by the U.S...

  • Stop Immigration Raids and Deportations of Families

    Last week we wrote to you in commemoration of this year’s National Migration Week: A Stranger and You Welcomed Me. This week we write with an opportunity to act on this crucial aspect of our faith. Beginning the first weekend of January, the Department of Homeland Security began carrying out immigration raids on Central American families and children who entered the United States seeking asylum and have had a final order of removal since January 1, 2014. This includes children and...

  • Columbans Stand in Opposition to Immigration Raids

    Columban missionaries stand in opposition to the recent immigration raids across the country targeting Central American individuals and families seeking refuge in the United States. Beginning the first weekend of January, the Department of Homeland Security began carrying out immigration raids on Central American families and children who entered the United States since January 1, 2014. This includes families who did not have access to appropriate due process or protections...

  • Learning from Different Lives

    I belong to a minority indigenous group in China, the Hani. My people’s faith lies in the belief that all creatures have souls and deserve equal respect. The Columban’s endeavors in social, environmental, and economic justice reflect a similar spirituality. Tracing back to my Hani heritage, as the migration intern, I feel even more closely related to the work Columbans are doing advocating for justice for immigrants. St. Columban once said, “A life unlike your own can be your teacher.” Similarly, one of the greatest philosophical...

  • Urge Your Member of Congress to Support Compassionate Welcome

    Every day we witness more heartbreaking stories of refugees fleeing the Middle East and North Africa, especially Syria. These stories show that this refugee crisis is not going away and that the United States must respond with compassion and robust welcome. Back in September, we asked you to sign the petition urging President Obama to increase the number of Syrian refugees resettled in the United States. The President responded to your voices and announced an increase in the number of...

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