Spanish Bishops encourage integration of migrant minors

Dialogue between the different competent public administrations, and urgent inter-territorial solidarity accompanied by an integral welcome to favor the social integration of young migrants, is the message of the Spanish Episcopal sub-commission for migrations, and the bishops of the Canary Islands.  

Francisco Otamendi-July 2, 2024-Reading time: 3 minutes
Migrant rescued at sea

A migrant person, rescued at sea in 2023 @OSV News photo/Juan Medina, Reuters.

The bishops of the two dioceses of the Canary Islands, Monsignors José Mazuelos and Bernardo Álvarez, and Auxiliary Bishop Cristóbal Deniz, have made a call not to forget the contributions that migrants make to our society, which are remarkable", and to "create a culture of encounter, overcome the phobia of foreigners, fight against mafias and promote the development of the countries of origin".

As Pope Francis' encyclical 'Fratelli tutti' affirms, and the bishops recall, "these are global realities that require global action, avoiding a 'culture of walls' that favors the proliferation of mafias, fed by fear and loneliness".

The bishops also point out that "many of our brothers and sisters would not embark on such an uncertain and dangerous journey if their people and countries were living in more just situations and if Spain and Europe were more effective in promoting ways for legal, orderly and safe migration".

Culture of encounter

Also the bishops of the Episcopal Subcommission for Migration and Human Mobility of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE) have wished to endorse "the note 'A light of hope for migrant minorsToday, our confreres of the two dioceses of the Canary Islands have sent out a letter to the Holy Father". 

"Together with Church entities that work with and for migrant children, adolescents and young people," they add, "we emphasize that their protection and integration is a duty before Spanish and European laws and a moral good that every Catholic must promote.

With the bishops of the Canary Islands, they trust in the dialogue between the competent public administrations to establish a comprehensive model of reception that "favors the social integration of migrant children, adolescents and young people, as well as a positive interaction with the social environment where they are received".

Requirements to reduce migratory flows

The Spanish episcopate considers that "we need to foster a culture of encounter that helps us to grow as humanity. With Pope Francis we think that "we need, on the part of all, a change of attitude towards immigrants and refugees, the passage from a defensive and suspicious attitude, of disinterest or marginalization, to an attitude that places as a foundation the "culture of encounter", the only one capable of building a more just and fraternal world, a better world" (Message for the Day of Migrants and Refugees 2014). 

The prelates of the Canary Islands rejected "the ideological instrumentalization and alarmist speeches that may take place around migrant minors or the complex phenomenon of migration", and stressed that "without conditions of life, work and dignity for the populations of the countries of origin, it will not be easy to reduce migratory flows". They also showed their "joy at the news that our leaders and most of our politicians have opened a path of hope to help the people of the Canary Islands to find a solution to this reality".

The Canary Islands are in an "extreme" situation with migrant minors, said Candelaria Delgado, the Canarian government's Minister of Social Welfare, Equality, Youth, Children and Families, a few days ago.

Pope: migrants flee insecurity and oppression

In its message For the 110th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will take place on September 29 this year, Pope Francis has focused his words on the theme "God walks with his people".

The Pontiff states that "it is possible to see in the migrants of our time, as in those of every age, a living image of the people of God on the way to the eternal homeland"; and that, like the Jews in the Exodus, "migrants often flee from situations of oppression and abuse, insecurity and discrimination, lack of development projects". Along with these serious threats, "they encounter many obstacles on their way," such as lack of resources, dangerous and poorly paid jobs, and disease.

Archbishop Argüello: support for regularization of migrants

In early March, almost immediately after being elected president of the Episcopal Conference, Archbishop Luis Argüello of Valladolid publicly supported the Popular Legislative Initiative (ILP) for the regularization of almost 400,000 foreigners residing in Spain before November 2021, stressing that "it is time to overcome a polarization caused by political interests".

In this line, Argüello stated on the social network X, formerly Twitter, that "human dignity asks us to welcome, protect, promote and integrate these neighbors, many of them minors," and wrote a statement in this sense. In the same sense, the has stated the Archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal José Cobo.

The authorFrancisco Otamendi

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