By Global Sisters Report
Reviewed by Valeria Stokes, EdD
Global Sisters Report brings a sharper focus to the plight of refugees in this special series presented through global case accounts of immigrants, refugees, and their experience with encampments and resettlements. It represents an independent, non-profit source of news and information about Catholic sisters and the critical issues facing the people they serve. This specific report offers a network of journalists’ writings on the different individual perspectives and experiences of the massive immigration phenomena ever present on the global stage with estimates of 25.4 million people around the globe. Statistics are offered to describe the critical life-threatening nature of individuals who are fleeing intractable problems of wars, crime, and effects of climate change.
A hallmark distinction is made between refugee and asylum seekers. A refugee is vetted by the home country and the resettlement generally occurs through agreed disbursement of the refugees to designated camps within cooperating countries. This has been evident in the US with the placement of those fleeing communist countries. Those seeking asylum as that which is occurring at the southern border of the US are fleeing, crime, violence, and poverty and must go through a complicated court system with no government assistance from the country they are fleeing. Deportation results in a return to those conditions and according to this report, individuals are facing certain assassination, theft of property, and definitive poverty.
A sustaining theme amongst the published articles in this report is the misunderstanding of immigration that has been exacerbated by politicizing public fears of job loss, criminal invasion, and loss of cultural identity of the host country, not just in the United States but also in Europe. The distinction that has been identified is that the immigration laws for the USA have become tougher, particularly around state resettlement. Through Catholic organizations, such as Catholic Charities and Catholic women religious (Benedictine Sisters of Chicago) efforts have been provided within four action steps: pray, speak-up, take action, learn more.
There is a new urgency and a new inspiration. Pope Francis has made the care of migrants and refugees a major focus of his papacy. There has been a United Nations debate by Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Vatican UN representative. Moreover, through moral dimensions of respect for human dignity, immigrants should be welcomed, protected, promoted( healthcare, wellbeing, employment) and integrated into the new culture. Our Seeking Refuge series illustrates how communities and countries can be strengthened when strangers are welcomed and integrated.