Take action now:

The Pope: there's also a right *not* to emigrate (99th World Day of Migrants and Refugees)

On immigration, Pope Benedict XVI has a more nuanced position than the U.S. leaders of the Catholic Church, such as the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

From the Pope's message announcing the upcoming 99th World Day of Migrants and Refugees on January 13, 2013 (link, bolding added):

...Certainly every state has the right to regulate migration and to enact policies dictated by the general requirements of the common good, albeit always in safeguarding respect for the dignity of each human person. The right of persons to migrate - as the Council's Constitution Gaudium et Spes, No. 65, recalled - is numbered among the fundamental human rights, allowing persons to settle wherever they consider best for the realization of their abilities, aspirations and plans. In the current social and political context, however, even before the right to migrate, there is need to reaffirm the right not to emigrate, that is, to remain in one's homeland; as Blessed John Paul II stated: "It is a basic human right to live in one's own country. However this rights become effective only if the factors that urge people to emigrate are constantly kept under control" (Address to the Fourth World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees, 9 October 1998). Today in fact we can see that many migrations are the result of economic instability, the lack of essential goods, natural disasters, wars and social unrest. Instead of a pilgrimage filled with trust, faith and hope, migration then becomes an ordeal undertaken for the sake of survival, where men and women appear more as victims than as agents responsible for the decision to migrate. As a result, while some migrants attain a satisfactory social status and a dignified level of life through proper integration into their new social setting, many others are living at the margins, frequently exploited and deprived of their fundamental rights, or engaged in forms of behaviour harmful to their host society. The process of integration entails rights and duties, attention and concern for the dignified existence of migrants; it also calls for attention on the part of migrants to the values offered by the society to which they now belong.

In this regard, we must not overlook the question of irregular migration, an issue all the more pressing when it takes the form of human trafficking and exploitation, particularly of women and children. These crimes must be clearly condemned and prosecuted, while an orderly migration policy which does not end up in a hermetic sealing of borders, more severe sanctions against irregular migrants and the adoption of measures meant to discourage new entries, could at least limit for many migrants the danger of falling prey to such forms of human trafficking. There is an urgent need for structured multilateral interventions for the development of the countries of departure, effective countermeasures aimed at eliminating human trafficking, comprehensive programmes regulating legal entry, and a greater openness to considering individual cases calling for humanitarian protection more than political asylum...

It's not clear exactly what policies that would lead to, but at least it isn't the loose/open borders vision of the leaders of the U.S. Catholic Church. On the other hand, part of that might be construed to support some form of guest workers program, and using variant of the safe legal orderly phrase to boot. It also isn't anywhere near as strong as it should be regarding the negative impacts of mass emigrations. Among others, those include: braindraining struggling Third World countries, making reforms less likely, further enabling corrupt leaders of those countries, and making countries dependent on the U.S. It also doesn't take those who encourage illegal immigration to task for their role in, for instance, increasing border deaths (see false compassion).

Tue, 10/30/2012 - 14:24 · Importance: 4