Migrants, yesterday and today

Migrants among migrants

Even more than being for migrants, we are called to be with them: migrants among migrants. Our vocation brings us to appreciate the experience of sacrifice, risk and poverty tied to the situation of migrating, which awakens nostalgia for new relationships with more openness and solidarity and to perceive the deep ties which unite people across all boundaries.

A magnifying glass

Migration is a complex reality that cannot be dealt with a segmented approach. In fact, it is like a magnifying glass through which all the dramatic problems, injustices and difficulties of human coexistence of the world are highlighted. Moreover, as Pope Francis writes, migration draws attention to “the human aspiration to live unity with respect for the diversities, the welcoming and hospitality which permit a fair sharing of the goods of the earth, the safeguard and promotion of the dignity and the importance of each human being”.

different routes ...

Today’s migrations are varied phenomena which involve many different groups of people: highly qualified professionals, international students, people looking for better living and working conditions, refugees running away from war and persecutions, and refugees due to environmental needs. Some migrate with the necessary authorization or documents required under immigration regulations, some are forced to live in the irregularity. Obviously people’s destinies are very different.
Humanity appears divided into two categories: the new supranational elite which can travel everywhere, unconcerned with frontiers and national boundaries, and the vast majority of people, who need to move for survival, risking their lives crossing borders or, perhaps, end up trapped in places like refugee camps. The freedom of movement applied today to financial goods, products and services, is unfortunately not universally recognized for people.

to cross borders

Everywhere in our world a sense of insecurity makes local people fearful of migrants, leading their governments to enforce increasingly restrictive migration legislation. As a consequence, the number of irregular immigrants has increased. Irregular immigration has now become a structural phenomenon all over the world.
Those benefiting the most from this type of immigration are the criminal organisations actively engaged in smuggling people across borders; whereas those who suffer the negative consequences of irregular border crossings, often even losing their lives, are migrants and refugees.
More inhuman still is the so-called "trafficking" of human beings, involving hundreds of thousands of women and children every year that are forced into prostitution or servile jobs, living in conditions of actual slavery.

In the same boat

Today, the world of human mobility has perhaps become even more complex and affects everyone, migrants and indigenous peoples alike. Migration is an important component of the growing interdependence between nations.
It is also due to migration that there is growing awareness that we "are travelling in the same boat", that is to say, in one and the same world. Our destiny is ever more bound to everyone else's destinies.

John Baptist Scalabrini's intuitions are, therefore, more relevant than ever, motivating the Scalabrinian Family to work for a constructive co-existence within the diversities present in our society, to achieve an authentic communion within the Church, and to promote justice and peace in the world.

Push and pull factors
  • The current and expanding migration flow is rooted in various factors: a growing social and economic inequality between North and South; the lack of prospects for education and employment for many young people; natural and ecological disasters; the demographic imbalance between continents; wars; political, ethnic and religious persecution; terrorism, and human rights violations.
  • No less powerful than the reasons forcing people to migrate are the motives awakening in them the urge to leave: among these are the media's portrayal of the social model of Western prosperity, the call of fellow countrymen who have migrated, and the active recruitment by smuggling organisations.
  • At the same time international competition, which favours the hiring of highly skilled technicians and professionals, initiates a migration of educated persons. This ‘brain drain’ further impoverishes the countries of origin, depriving them of the workforce needed for economic and social development.