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

  • Immigrants are no Strangers

    Lenten season in this border city of El Paso, Texas is a vibrant time. Our various parishes host beautiful Stations of the Cross, retreats for all ages, and even massive reconciliation services. Additionally, the menus of many local restaurants offer Lenten meals, which are heavily influenced by Mexican cuisine such as Capirotada (sweet bread dessert), Nopalitos Asados (fried cactus), and Pescado a la Veracruzana (fried fish Veracruz style). The border is a place full of things influenced ...

  • Catholic Faith Leaders Speak in Support of Refugees

    Today representatives from national Catholic religious orders and advocacy organizations responded to the new executive order issued by the Trump administration. Defending Catholic values and recalling scripture passages and Pope Francis, these leaders expressed overall opposition to this new immigration executive order. "We must always remember that we are a nation of immigrants and refugees and we are called to stand in solidarity with them...

  • Signs of the Time: The Good Samaritan and the Good News of Sanctuary

    In the first few weeks since the inauguration of a new president, the new administration has issued Executive Orders to build a wall on the U.S. – Mexico border, to bar refugees from Syria and other Muslim countries from entering the United States, and to cut off federal funding to Sanctuary Cities who seek to support immigrants and refugees, rather than to deport them. A nation of immigrants, and the children and grandchildren of immigrants, anxiously awaits to see whether the President of the United States...

  • National Catholic Religious Leaders Send Letter to DHS Secretary Kelly

    On February 24, 2017 representatives from twelve national Catholic religious orders and advocacy organizations sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly. The letter began, “As leaders representing national Catholic advocacy organizations and religious orders, we are deeply troubled by the pattern of arrests, detentions and deportations of undocumented immigrants across the nation – including violating the previous policy of Immigration and Customs Enforcement...

  • Renew Pope’s Message of Mercy at the Border

    A year ago today, over 300,000 people, including many members of the Columban community, gathered in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and across the border in El Paso, Texas to hear Pope Francis’ transformational message. On his frist trip to the US-Mexico border, he reinforced our faith’s call to open our hearts to the suffering of others, including migrants and refugees. In support of the pope’s message of welcome, we released a statement calling for immigration and border policies that reflect his...

  • Outlook on the Border from Cristo Rey

    Arms stretched wide, the Cristo Rey’s eyes survey the distance with a mixture of pain and hope. At an elevation of almost a mile, the mountain peak on Sierra de Cristo Rey is already well above its surroundings, but the limestone statue's additional 40 feet of height grants it an omniscient perspective: El Paso marks the end of Texas, and beyond the international border, a trickling Rio Grande, Ciudad Juarez sprawls flat into the beginnings of Mexico. Having just reached the platform at the base of the Cristo Rey, I surveyed the same panorama. I had been invited by...

  • Columban Week of Action: Stand with Refugees

    On Friday, January 27, the new administration suspended immigration for citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen—all are majority Muslim countries. The order includes a four-month suspension of America’s entire refugee program in order to review how refugees are vetted before they are allowed to settle here and a ban on the arrival of Syrian refugees. It also includes a cut in the number of refugees the United States plans to accept this year by more than half—from 110,000 to....

  • Columban Week of Action: Create Communities of Welcome

    Last Wednesday, January 25, the new administration signed two executive orders aimed at migrants and asylum-seekers. The second order increases the use of harmful law enforcement methods against migrants and asylum-seekers. The measures include punitively withholding federal funding from cities with community trust policies in place, commonly known as ‘sanctuary cities’. It also re-institutes ineffective enforcement practices such as harmful programs which discourage...