National Migration Week
For nearly a half century, the Catholic Church in the United States has celebrated National Migration Week. This is a time to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, including immigrants, refugees, children, and victims and survivors of human trafficking. The theme for National Migration Week 2020, Promoting a Church and a World for All, draws attention to the fact that each of our families has a migration story, some recent and others in the distant past. Regardless of where we are and where we came from, we remain part of the human family and are called to live in solidarity with one another.
Unfortunately, in our contemporary culture we often fail to encounter migrants as persons, and instead look at them as unknown others, if we even notice them at all. We do not take the time to engage migrants in a meaningful way, as fellow children of God, but remain aloof to their presence and suspicious or fearful of them. During this National Migration Week, let us all take the opportunity to engage migrants as community members, neighbors, and friends.
Justice for Immigrants
May I love and welcome those who come seeking work. dignity, and safety.
Examine your own attitudes and feelings toward persons of different cultures who come to your neighborhood or seek refuge in this country. What is your level of acceptance and welcome? How much are your attitudes or hostility shaped by the national agenda being promulgated about persons who are immigrants. Do you regard those who are trying to do the Christian thing as naïve?
When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God
But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
1 John 3:17
I was a stranger and you made me welcome.
When the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past. We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our neighbors and everything around us. Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best.
We are a nation of immigrants, of travelers, of strangers who came to this land looking for a home, whether our lineage takes us back to those who came by sea or strait so long ago to be called Native Americans, or to Europeans who wanted a new Jerusalem, or to the proud peoples of Africa brought here against their will, or to the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free who came to this land through Ellis Island, and still do through Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and El Paso. We are a nation of immigrants, of strangers seeking the hospitality of this land and of one another.
Barbara A. Anderson
The whole Church is challenged to live the experience of the disciples on the road to Emmaus as they are converted to be witnesses of the Risen Lord after they welcome him as a stranger. Faith in the presence of Christ in the migrant leads to a conversion of mind and heart, which leads to a renewed spirit of communion and to the building of structures of solidarity to accompany the migrant. Part of the process of conversion of mind and heart deals with confronting attitudes of cultural superiority, indifference, and racism; accepting migrants not as foreboding aliens, terrorists, or economic threats, but rather as persons with dignity and rights, revealing the presence of Christ; and recognizing migrants as bearers of deep cultural values and rich faith traditions
USCCB, Brothers and Sisters to Us
Our attitude towards immigration reflects our faith in the American ideal. We have always believed it possible for men and women who start at the bottom to rise as far as the talent and energy allow. Neither race nor place of birth should affect their chances.
Robert F. Kennedy
In a land of immigrants, one was not an alien but simply the latest arrival.
Nearly all Americans have ancestors who braved the oceans – liberty-loving risk takers in search of an ideal – the largest voluntary migrations in recorded history… Immigration is not just a link to America’s past; it’s also a bridge to America’s future.”
George W. Bush
I’m troubled by the immigration debate. When my family came from England during the war, people said, “You are welcome here. What can we do to help?” I am a beneficiary of the American people’s generosity, and I hope we can have comprehensive immigration legislation that allows this country to continue to be enriched by those who were not born here.