In recognition of the migrants and refugees with whom we live and serve around the world, the Missionary Society of St. Columban, endorses the following resolution:
Whereas, Pope Benedict XVI stated in Caritates in Veritate, “ Every migrant is a human person who, as such, possesses fundamental, inalienable rights that must be respected by everyone and in every circumstance”; and on the occasion of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (Oct. 2010) he said, “those who are forced to leave their homes or their country will be helped to find a place where they may live in peace and safety, where they may work and take on the rights and duties that exist in the Country that welcomes them, contributing to the common good and without forgetting the religious dimension of life.
Whereas, the missionary call of the Columbans is to serve God through our actions towards those who are poor and marginalized; the missionaries of the Society of St. Columban have historically lived with, worked alongside, and served migrant communities around the world; at the 2000 and 2006 General Assemblies, the Society committed itself in a special way to ongoing education and action on the migration of people; migrant centers and migrant worker centers are an integral part of the work of the Columbans in many countries,
Whereas, migrants include those escaping from political turmoil, natural disasters and economic hardships in their country of origin; immigrants from across the world have served their host communities through the major contributions of their labor; nowhere is this clearer than in the low-wage industries, where wealth is created by garment, restaurant, day labor, domestic, home care workers and other immigrant workers who receive poverty wages and endure exploitation; and
Whereas, immigrant workers have endured deplorable working conditions such as long work hours without overtime pay, no access to workers compensation, little regard for their health and safety, harassment, discrimination, blacklisting, and have little or no protection by government agencies in charge of enforcing labor laws; and
Whereas, immigrant workers lack job security, a living wage and are trapped in these low-wage industries without the hope of improving their lives and that of their families; and
Whereas, immigrant workers face higher levels of exploitation because most lack legal documentation, and they are subject to threats and harassment to be thrown out of their host countries, incarcerated and deported thereby creating a fearful working and living environment; and
Whereas, immigrant workers and their families, because of their immigration status, are also systematically denied access to decent healthcare, social services, and quality education.
Let it be resolved:
That we, as missionaries living and working with immigrants, hereby endorse the following principles as guidelines for a better world for immigrants. We urge all others to uphold these principles as we work together to improve the conditions for low-wage immigrant workers and their families.
JUSTICE – All immigrant workers deserve and must receive the following support to lead healthy, decent and productive lives:
- True legalization should be given in the form of permanent legal status and citizenship. This should not be limited to any country of origin or work industry.
- Greater protection and enforcement of international labor laws, which will guarantee at least minimum wage and security from blacklisting, harassment and intimidation of any kind.
DIGNITY – All immigrant workers and their families deserve:
Clean, safe and proper working conditions to prevent illness, stress and
- Access to decent and quality healthcare, and nutrition.
- Permanent, stable and secure work.
- Access to quality education.
- Access to safe affordable housing.
DEMOCRACY – All immigrant workers and their families must hold the same freedoms and rights as any member of their host country. Immigrant families must be able to voice their concerns.