For nearly 50 years, the Catholic Church in the United States has celebrated National Migration Week, which is an opportunity for us to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, which includes immigrants, refugees, children, victims and also survivors of human trafficking.
This year National Migration Week takes place between September 20-26. The primary theme for this year is “TOWARDS AN EVER WIDER ‘WE’.” In Pope Francis’ letter announcing this year’s theme, he emphasizes that this focus calls on us to ensure that we will no longer think in terms of ‘them’ and ‘those,’ but only ‘us’. Pope Francis invites us to be part of a culture of encounter as we welcome, protect, integrate, and promote immigrants and refugees in our midst.
Immigration is about real people who are trying to find a better life and a new beginning. It is about more than statistics. As Pope Francis stated, “Each migrant has a name, a face and a story.” Immigrants who come to the United States, and particularly those who are undocumented, are an especially vulnerable population who have fled violence and persecution and are often seeking safety, family reunification and economic opportunity. Our moral tradition calls on all people of faith and goodwill to stand up in defense of life and human dignity, regardless of one’s immigration status.
Today we are faced with the fact that forced displacement of people is at the highest level since World War II, with more than 65 million people displaced around the world and over 22 million refugees. Let each of us do something during this month to become more aware of what is going on in the area where we live and work and to try to find one action from the Toolkit that was provided in last week’s news, to make a difference in growing TOWARDS AN EVER WIDER ‘WE’.