U.S. Bishops reiterated objections to policies restricting non-Mexican asylum seekers as the Biden Administration appeals a ruling blocking the restrictions. Bishops urged leaders to see migrants as “more than numbers encountered at the border … but persons created in the image and likeness of God.”
During his Apostolic Journey to World Youth Day, the Holy Father met with 25 Afghan, Libyan, and Syrian refugees studying at the Portuguese Catholic University in Lisbon, who, together with 25 other refugee students, have found a pathway to a new life through support from the Pope Francis Fund.
The Episcopal migration lead in England and Wales has affirmed the Church’s commitment to “love the stranger” despite the UK’s passage of the “Illegal Migration Act.” “We will continue to welcome those seeking sanctuary here and call for the expansion of safe routes,” said Bishop Paul McAleenan.
Services at borders, skills training, psychological support, housing, and education about migrant rights are some of the efforts by Episcopal Conferences in Southern Africa, Mozambique, Central Africa, and Thailand to respond to and end human trafficking highlighted in this Vatican News interview.
At the the Angelus prayer on Sunday, Pope Francis highlighted the plight of thousands of migrants trapped or abandoned in the desert in northern Africa and urged governments in Europe and Africa to come to their aid. "May the Mediterranean never again be a theater of death and inhumanity.”
U.S. Bishops urged Congress to pass a bill granting “a legal pathway to real and lasting safety” to Afghans who supported U.S. forces in Afghanistan and sought refuge in the USA after the Taliban takeover. Current law limited refugees’ participation in society, said lead migration Bishop Mark Seitz.
The lead migration Bishop for England and Wales has called condemned the “Illegal Migration Bill” set to become law, saying the UK should protect, not criminalize refugees. “We must never make recognition of people’s dignity dependent upon where they come from or how they reach our country.”
Pope Francis’ vision of migration can inform news writing, Vatican representative Cardinal Michael Czerny told a gathering of African Catholic journalists in a prepared address, while a Bishop from the African Episcopal association SECAM urged development of new strategies for migration reporting.
On the tenth anniversary of his first pastoral visit to the island of Lampedusa, Pope Francis lamented the ongoing tragedy of migrant lives lost at sea, saying the world must change its attitude. “We are all called to a renewed and profound sense of responsibility, showing solidarity and sharing.”
Panelists at a 28 June webinar organized by the U.S. Episcopal Conference highlighted conflict and violence as key drivers of migration. They called on the international community to support governments that respect human rights and dignity and to address factors forcing people to flee their homes.
South Sudanese Catholics need international support as they assist refugees fleeing the war in Sudan, the Episcopal Conference for the two countries said in a 30 June statement. The Bishops said dioceses throughout South Sudan are receiving forcibly displaced people, who “have come with their life broken.”
Archbishop Stephen Amezu Martin of Juba urged the Church in South Sudan to create “emergency and contingency plans” at the diocesan level to welcome people seeking refuge from the violence in Sudan. Those forcibly displaced “have lost everything including their property and savings,” he said.
The Philippines should temporarily welcome some 50,000 Afghan refugees as they wait for resettlement to the USA, said Bishop Ruperto Santos of the Filipino Episcopal migrant commission. “The Church will cooperate and collaborate with our government to promote, protect, and preserve human lives.”
The latest migrant deaths at sea showed the “consequences of policies which do not include compassion,” the lead migration Bishop in England and Wales said, lamenting policy decisions that “make such tragedies almost inevitable.” Bishop Paul McAleenan stressed the need for safe, regular pathways.
On Sunday, Pope Francis expressed sorrow and prayed for those who lost their lives in the 14 June shipwreck off the coast of Greece. He called the international community to action ahead of World Refugee Day. “I implore that everything possible always be done to prevent similar tragedies.”