Respect immigrants; they aren’t the enemy, Caritas says

2 October 2017
Sister Norma Pimentel (right) with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines, (centre) with immigrants and representatives of Caritas Internationalis. Image: CNS/Paul Haring.

Politicians and community leaders must recognize the benefits of welcoming newcomers and not believe immigrants should be rejected automatically, said members of a panel launching the Caritas “Share the Journey” campaign.

Immigrants and refugees need to be respected and assisted, not treated like an enemy, they said during a Vatican news conference Sept. 27.

“If that person’s creativity and talents are developed, they do not become a threat; they even contribute to the community,” said Philippine Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, president of Caritas Internationalis.

“And if a politician cares for his or her country, this is one way by which he or she could care for the country,” the cardinal said. “Don’t close the doors! You might be closing the doors to people who might enrich your society.”

The two-year campaign, sponsored by Caritas Internationalis, the global network of national Catholic charities — including the U.S. Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities USA — aims to encourage all Catholics to organize or take part in events and opportunities that allow immigrants and refugees to share their stories with their host community.

“Whenever I meet a migrant, I am reminded of my grandfather, who migrated from China as a poor boy and came to the Philippines,” the cardinal said.

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