Chapter Four, first topic:
BORDERS AND THEIR LIMITS
129, Complex challenges arise when our neighbor happens to be an immigrant. [Cf. Catholic Bishops of Mexico and the United States, A Pastoral Letter Concerning Migration: “Strangers No Longer Together on the Journey of Hope” (January 2003)]
Few people want to leave home completely. Sometimes opportunity beckons from afar. Sometimes there is little respect and less opportunity. But many people on the move would be happiest to remain with family, with familiar surroundings, and rooted in their own culture.
Ideally, unnecessary migration ought to be avoided; this entails creating in countries of origin the conditions needed for a dignified life and integral development. Yet until substantial progress is made in achieving this goal, we are obliged to respect the right of all individuals to find a place that meets their basic needs and those of their families, and where they can find personal fulfillment.
Part of the issue is recognizing how foreign policy and economic factors decimate a wide array of cultures. Cash crops, political corruption, exploiting natural resources, war, terrorism, religious extremists: as long as we have these, people will be forced to move and those of us not on the move will be obligated to look at our threads of complicity. And more, welcome people when they come to us.
Our response to the arrival of migrating persons can be summarized by four words: welcome, protect, promote and integrate. For “it is not a case of implementing welfare programs from the top down, but rather of undertaking a journey together, through these four actions, in order to build cities and countries that, while preserving their respective cultural and religious identity, are open to differences and know how to promote them in the spirit of human fraternity”.[General Audience (3 April 2019): L’Osservatore Romano, 4 April 2019, p. 8]
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