Pope Francis on Migration
Migration is a shared condition of all humanity. We have all been strangers in a strange land. All humanity lives today as a result of migration, by themselves or their ancestors. Migration is a matter sometimes of choice, often of need, and always an inalienable right. All helpless people deserve to be helped. Offering such help is a commandment and a blessing shared among all religions. Accordingly, as Pope Francis reminds us, our duties to migrants include “to welcome”, “to protect”, “to promote”, and “to integrate.” National borders are not a result of primary natural law, as aren’t private property and clothes, “because nature did not give [humans] clothes, but art invented them”. National borders depend on social, political and geographical factors. Therefore, faced with current waves of mass migration, in order to establish practices that respond to the common good we need to be guided by three levels of responsibility. The first principle being that “in case of need all things are common”, because “every man is my brother”. This principle is relative to existence or subsistence and conditions other related issues (such as accommodation, food, housing, security, etc.). Secondly, as part of the fundamental rights of people, legal guarantees of primary rights that foster an “organic participation” in the economic and social life of the nation. Access to these economic and social goods, including education and employment, will allow people to develop their own abilities. Thirdly, a deeper sense of integration, reflecting responsibilities related to protecting, examining and developing the values that underpin the deep, stable, unity of a society— and, more fundamentally, create a horizon of public peace, understood as St. Augustine’s "tranquility in order". In particular, with regards to the aforementioned context, policies on migration should be guided by prudence, but prudence must never mean exclusion. On the contrary, governments should evaluate, “with wisdom and foresight, the extent to which their country is in a position, without prejudice to the common good of citizens, to offer a decent life to migrants, especially those truly in need of protection. Strangely enough, the response of most governments in the face of this phenomenon only seems to value the third principle, completely disregarding the first two.
Keywords: national borders, natural law, migrants, human trafficking, common good, protect, promotion, integration, existence and subsistence of the people, organic participation, work, education, employment
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