Bishop José MazuelosCanary Islands is not a prison for young people".

This morning Monsignor José Mazuelos, Bishop of the Canary Islands, and Monsignor Bernardo Álvarez, Bishop of Tenerife, spoke at the headquarters of the Spanish Episcopal Conference about the serious situation of migrants in the Canary Islands.

Paloma López Campos-November 24, 2022-Reading time: 2 minutes
Immigrants Canary Islands

A member of the rescue team helps an illegal immigrant (CNS / Reuters).

This morning Monsignor José Mazuelos, bishop of the Canary Islands, and Monsignor Bernardo Álvarez, bishop of Tenerife, spoke at the headquarters of the Spanish Episcopal Conference on the plight of migrants who have arrived in the Canary Islands.

"The Canary Islands is not a prison for young people" said Marzuelo, but there is an "enclosure" on the part of the Administrations. Politicians are ignoring the problematic situation currently being experienced in the Canary Islands. Many migrants have arrived from their countries of origin in search of a better life or fleeing conflicts, and have ended up on these islands. The minors are under guardianship in centers of the Administrations, which often cannot be entered by the priests of the dioceses, but when they come of age they go out into the streets where they are no longer accompanied.

The Church tries to offer these people "welcome, protection and accompaniment", trying to ensure that they lead dignified lives, but the situation is desperate and the lack of means is causing "social time bombs" to start forming, say the bishops. 

The dioceses are trying to initiate projects to alleviate this situation. In Tenerife there is the Good Samaritan Foundation, which aims to assist, welcome and train people at risk of social exclusion. The Corredores de Hospitalidad project has also been opened, with the support of the CEE Migration Department, for the integral reception of young people formerly under guardianship.

In spite of everything, it is not possible to simply approach these people when they are already in a desperate situation, but it is necessary to go to their countries of origin and help to open formation centers. The bishops make a public call to make the situation known and ask for collaboration from the Administrations, in order to open channels that allow all migrants to lead a dignified life, also asking for the promotion of a culture of hospitality throughout the Church.

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