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Migrants and refugees in the renewal course

October 30, 2018

(Photo) Refugees camp of Zataari, north of Jordan, who takes 115.000 sirian refugees aproximately. © MANDEL NGAN / REUTERS

“You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; you shall love the alien as yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt. I, the LORD, am your God” (Lv 19,34).

 In our Ignatian dynamics, we had some days with Agnaldo Junior SJ, remembering the people of Israel going out to encounter the other, seeing if we make the true encounter with Jesus Christ, the pilgrim. An aid for the experience of going out to meet the world with an awakened and prepared spirit, looking at the positive aspects of migration from the personal call and from what the Popes have been saying on this subject.

We dwelt on the last campaign, with the verbs to welcome, protect, promote, integrate.

Every stranger who knocks on our door is an opportunity to meet Jesus Christ, who identifies with the foreigner who has been welcomed or rejected at any time in history (cf. Mt 25,35.43).

We are called to respond with generosity, diligence, wisdom and breadth of vision – each according to her possibilities – to the many challenges posed by contemporary migrations. A concrete commitment to increase and simplify the granting of visas for humanitarian reasons and family reunification will be desirable. At the same time, that a greater number of countries adopt private and community programs, and open humanitarian corridors for the most vulnerable refugees in different places, facilitate personal encounters, allow a better quality of services and offer greater guarantees of success.

Although based on the experience and reflection of the Church, the 20 Points are offered as valuable considerations to all people of good will who are willing to implement them and advocate for their inclusion in the negotiations of their country.

Welcome: Increase in safe and legal routes for migrants and refugees    

1.     The collective or arbitrary expulsion of migrants and refugees must be avoided. The principle of non-refoulement should always be respected: migrants and refugees should never be returned to a country that is considered unsafe.    

2.     Legal avenues for migration or safe and voluntary relocation must be multiplied.    

3.     The value of each person’s security must be properly balanced with national security concerns.    

4.     Migrants must be protected by their countries of origin, must create a governmental department for the diaspora; and offer consular assistance and protection abroad.

Protect: Defense of Migrants’ Rights and Shelter   

5.     Immigrants must be protected by their countries of arrival, in order to prevent exploitation, forced labor and trafficking in persons, establishing a minimum wage applicable to all workers.   

6.     Migrants, asylum seekers and refugees should be empowered to take advantage of their skills and competencies to improve their own well-being and the prosperity of their communities.    

7.     Offering temporary custody or foster care for unaccompanied or separated children; and through the creation of separate centers for the identification and processing of minors, adults and families.   

8.      Access to education must be guaranteed to all migrants.    

9.     Access to social security should be guaranteed to all migrants.    

10.   Migrants should never be stateless, in accordance with the right to nationality established by international conventions, and citizenship must be recognized at birth.

Promote: Advancement of integral human development of migrants and refugees    

11.   Countries should include migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in their national development plan.

12.   They must grow and be valued in the countries of arrival guaranteeing equal access to higher education, specialization courses, apprenticeships.

13.   The social and professional inclusion of migrants

14.   The integrity and well-being of the family should always be protected and promoted, regardless of their legal status.    

15.   Migrants, asylum seekers and refugees with special needs should be treated the same as citizens with the same conditions.    

16.   Funds must be increased for international development and humanitarian support, sent to countries that receive a significant influx of refugees and migrants.    

17.   The right to religious freedom – in terms of both beliefs and practices – must be guaranteed to all migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.

Integrate: Greater participation of migrants and refugees to enrich local communities   

18.   Integration should be promoted, as a bidirectional process that recognizes and values the riches of both cultures.

19.   A positive narrative of solidarity towards migrants, asylum seekers and refugees should be promoted.

20.   Those who are forced to flee humanitarian crises and are subsequently evacuated or enrolled in assisted repatriation programs must have adequate conditions for reintegration in their countries.

In this regard, I wish to reaffirm that “our common response could be articulated so that we have more welcome and hospitality, promoting the rapid reintegration of refugees and migrants.”


Tomelina Barbosa