We need to listen to Pope Francis’ words

These are the words that Pope Francis forcefully repeated yesterday at the Angelus: it is necessary to “do our part towards giving migrants, refugees and asylum seekers a humane and dignified welcome in Europe”. The Community of Sant’Egidio, the Jesuit Refugee Service and the Missionary Sisters of San Carlo Borromeo (Scalabrinians), in support of the Pope’s message, launch an appeal: after the fire that destroyed the camp and created enormous difficulties for those people already living in hell, may the situation never go back to the way it was. The European Union, in cooperation with the Greek Government, must intervene immediately to welcome and integrate an amount of people which is doubtlessly within its reach. Important decisions must be taken urgently, in the coming hours, to save the most vulnerable ones, starting with the sick, women and children. Only by giving priority to the path of dialogue and peaceful relations will it be possible to reach a solution in the interests of all. But delaying or, worse, turning a blind eye on the problem, while a new permanent precariousness is established, at the expense of those refugees who have been living on the island for months, some of them for years, will seriously affect the image of Europe and turn it into a guilty continent instead of being a symbol of respect for human rights. It would lead it to blame and shame before history.

The three organisations, mentioned above, promoting this appeal – and which have been caring for the refugees in Lesbos and throughout Greece, with numerous operations – call in particular for:

finding, as soon as possible, small accomodations with facilities, for those who are displaced as a consequence of the fire that destroyed the Moria camp.

– ensuring free access to humanitarian organisations in order to assist refugees in their most immediate needs, especially as far as the sick, women, children and the elderly are concerned;

– deciding, both at the EU level and at the level of individual European countries, on the necessary relocation not only of unaccompanied minors but also of vulnerable families and individuals from the island;

changing the reception model on the islands for new arrivals from Turkey by providing reception facilities on a transitional basis, that may be manageable and respectful of human dignity, thus safeguarding the right of every refugee, whatever its origin, to seek asylum.

The three promoters of this appeal wish to remind that, since February 2016, the experience of the humanitarian corridors was also created and launched, in Lesbos, by Pope Francis himself when, he decided, on April 16th, 2016 – with the intervention of the Office of Papal Charities and the Community of Sant’Egidio – to take with him on his plane the first three families, for a total amount of 67 refugees. We must continue on this path, together with other alternative programs  of access to international protection, in order to keep on saving refugees through networking with many associations, parishes and ordinary citizens who are willing to receive with great generosity. “The experiences already begun in some countries – recalled Cardinals Krajewski, Hollerich and Czerny in their letter to the European Bishops Conference dated January 28th – show that the possibilities of good reception are higher than hoped”. For this reason we also hope that the European Bishops Conferences will urge their respective governments to develop new projects for reception and integration. These two practices are not just good for refugees, but pretty much, in terms of values and future, for all European citizens.

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Moria has become the clearest icon of the stiffening of Europe’s stance towards people in situations of migration and refuge that has drastically reduced irregular migration, which critics see as a profound humanitarian and moral cost

Puglia, 720 percorsi individuali per integrazione lavorativa migranti

It is called “Skills to work” and is a project aimed at labor integration of migrants, with 720 individualized courses, distributed in all the provinces of Puglia. The initiative is the result of the partnership between the Puglia Region, the lead partner, the social cooperative companies Rinascita and Arci Lecce, CeFas Training Center and high specialization, Afg-Global Training Association. “By supporting migrants we want to curb the phenomenon of their expulsion from the labor market, despite being exposed to greater mobility, lower wages and, for this very reason, with a greater chance of job placement – explain the Region.

In some communities foreigners, in fact, there are high quotas of NEETs (young people who do not study and do not seek employment) and very high levels of female inactivity or employed who perform lower level tasks, compared to the skills acquired in schooling attended in the countries of origin , because they do not fully exploit their curriculum, and there is also a lack of participation in active employment policy programs for the unemployed “.

A new migrant caravan is making its way through southern Mexico

Mexico. A new migrant caravan of about 2,500 people is making its way through southern Mexico, headed for the US border, facing greater heat – and a much cooler welcome – than last year’s caravans.

The caravan walked past the city of Huixtla in the southern state of Chiapas on Monday, but police were lined up to keep them moving along a highway outside the town, and did not let them enter – a contrast to last year, when caravans were allowed to stay in the city center.

The city said in a statement that it offered water and medical help to the caravan of 2,466 people, mainly from Nicaragua, Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. It said the caravan included many children, and some were suffering in the area’s near-100F (39C) heat.

Such caravans aren’t getting as a warm a welcome as they did last fall, when local governments and church groups handed out food, water and clothing, and police sometimes helped the migrants get rides.

Activists said that the Mexican government was trying to wear the caravans out, or stop them from trying to reach the United States.

This year, the Mexican government abruptly stopped issuing “humanitarian” visas at the border with Guatemala. The visas had given migrants legal status while they made their way to the US border.

Migrant children receive medical attention

The results of the medical checks on most of the detained migrant children have not yet been made public. Border Protection Custody is seeking the additional help of other Government Agencies to provide adequate cover. They say that in just the month of November 5,283 accompanied or lone children have been detained.

The number for December is expected to appreciably exceed this. Most children and adults only remain a few days with this sector, and are then sent to longer term immigration service holding areas. The issue of suffer the little children, is turning into a major crisis amidst the migration exodus.

Another migrant child dies in US custody

Another boy, who’s not being named, was taken to hospital in New Mexico after falling ill. He was treated and released, but later his condition deteriorated, he was re-admitted but died on Christmas day.

An investigation has been launched into these two tragedies amidst this humanitarian exodus.

This follows the death several days ago of a seven year old Guatemalan girl, who collapsed from dehydration and shock.

Hundreds of children many of whom are very young, are accompanying their parents, desperate to escape the ravages of poverty and the threat of organized crime.

Now a fourth Central American Caravan has started its journey from Honduras. But representatives say it`s planned destination is Chiapas in Southern Mexico and NOT the United States.

 

Source: Vatican News

At USCCB conference, advocate explains immigrant recruitment fraud

It is fairly common for migrant workers to be charged a fee by a recruiter to be matched with a job in the United States. But some migrants have reported paying the fee for a promised job that does not really exist. In other scams, a job is real, but the work is very different than the initial job description.

Rachel Micah-Jones, founder and executive director of Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc.  poke Dec. 6 on a panel at the USCCB’s Migration and Refugee Services “Justice for Immigrants” conference held in Arlington, Va.

While similar bills have been proposed in California and New Jersey, Micah-Jones highlighted the importance of this legislation for the Old Line State. Maryland is “a big destination state” for international workers, she explained, and has “the full alphabet soup” of visa holders who work in industries across the state.

“This bill is really important because it would prohibit the charging of fees for workers who are recruited to work in the state of Maryland,” she said. These recruitment fees make migrant workers more vulnerable to abuse, as they are indebted to their employer. Other times, these workers may be discouraged or afraid to speak out about abuse on the job due to fear of losing their visa.

“Many workers are recruited for jobs that oftentimes that don’t exist, (even) after paying for those jobs,” she added.

 

Source: The CNA has this News

Pastoral agents welcome and needed in Uganda

There are more than a million refugees currently live in Bishop Odoki’s diocese in Uganda. Most of the refugees come from South Sudan and a small portion from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The first groups arrived in late 2013 after civil war broke out in South Sudan.

Due to short supply of priest, “a pastoral and spiritual care is much needed to meet the needs of refugees.  Bishop Odoki said his diocese even lacks the financial support to provide shelter for the pastoral agents. So the bishop is appealing to religious congregations to send priests and sisters to help meet the refugees’ spiritual needs. “They are welcome,” he said.

Migrants: 60 lives saved after a vessel with about 180 migrants

Miraculously, 68 others were rescued off Tunisia’s southern coast, but the death toll is expected to rise, as authorities suspect many bodies have been washed away.

Most of those onboard were Tunisian. Some survived by clinging to debris for over 10-hours, others were lucky enough to be wearing flimsy life jackets.

So far this year, around 660 people have died or gone missing whist attempting to reach Europe in un-seaworthy boats.

Migrants, EU Commission funds Greece project

It is with 180 million euros that the European Commission has financed new aid projects for migrants in Greece. This is an activity that is part of the strengthening of the ‘Emergency support for integration and housing arrangements’ program (Estia).

“Our humanitarian refugee programs in Greece are a clear and strong sign of European solidarity. We continue to maintain our strong commitment to helping refugees in Greece to lead more secure, normal and dignified lives and to facilitate their integration into the local economy and society, “said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Christos Stylianides.