Michael Czerny on caravan migration: If our families faced their situation they'd also flee

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Thousands of people have been walking for weeks through Central America with one goal: to arrive to the United States. They want to begin a new life far from their homes and a future where living a normal life could be possible.

Co-Under-Secretary, Migrants and Refugees section
“The causes are many but certainly the poverty is a very important cause. This poverty is itself caused by the activity of multinational corporations in their countries. It's also beginning to be caused by climate change. It's caused by poor governance and by corruption. It is also caused, even if you don't call it war, by a level of violence which most of us would consider unacceptable. So the causes are several, they are perfectly understandable. Everybody who is watching this program would agree that if they and their families faced reasons like this, they would also flee.”

Fr. Michael Czerny is one of the people in charge of the Migrants and Refugees Section in the Holy See. He recently visited Mexico when the caravan just had arrived.

He assures the Church is playing a key role in helping these people who left their homes with only the clothes on their back. In cities like Tijuana, there have been protests against these migrants, yet they don't represent the entire population.

Co-Under-Secretary, Migrants and Refugees section
“The Bishops of the United States and especially the bishops on the borders, are being as helpful as they can. So it's understandable that a border city, which already has many people passing through, could react when a new large group arrives.”

The United States announced it will not allow them to enter the country, even describing this migration as an “invasion.” However, the Vatican assures the solution is to welcome, protect, promote and integrate.

Therefore, all their hopes are placed on the next Global Pacts that will be signed in December in Morocco by UN countries. 

Co-Under-Secretary, Migrants and Refugees section
“I think if we had more cooperation we would also have less fear, less confusion and less reactions. So the global compact is a chance for everybody to make a new start and to take the question calmly but seriously.”

On a world scale, the Global Pacts offer a great hope. However, on an individual level each person can offer a lot. This is to first start off by putting oneself in the shoes of those who emigrate.

Co-Under-Secretary, Migrants and Refugees section
“I think the right thing to do is what the Holy Father says. This is to ask yourself 'what can I do?' This is not the time to make big plans and have big discussions, but each one can do something. Somebody can help with language lessons; somebody else can have an extra bed; somebody has a spare room; somebody can take a migrant to the doctors, or to the dentist, or to the hairdresser.”

Like this, with a little more empathy and closeness, it's possible to welcome these migrants, who for the first time have had to enter a country that is not their own.

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