Washington DC, July 10th, 2014 – The 14th National Conference on Migration was held from July 7th to 10th, organized by the Episcopal Conference of the United States, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) and the United States Catholic Charity Service (CRS).
The National Migration Conference aims to strengthen and improve the capacity of Catholic institutions in their service to migrants, refugees and victims of trafficking, and to provide them with a better life, while also seeking to guarantee that their rights are respected.
Highlights of the event included discussing Catholic doctrine on migration and its application in conjunction with stakeholders who support migrants, as well as discussing the protection of migrants at national and international level. As the event was Catholic, further topics of discussion included the training of diocesan and parish leaders to serve migrants and refugees, in addition to the involvement of actors in civil society, which together with the Church are committed in helping millions of victims in abusive situations.
The Conference, which was attended by about 900 representatives of Catholic institutions, as well as by civil society and United States government officials, was held in the context with the House of Representatives’ failure to agree on immigration reform and the humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied migrant children who continue to arrive in the United States.
“As the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, emphasized during the event, we should all be wondering, what we are doing to help migrants? Cardinal Maradiaga stated ‘While the Italian Navy is recovering bodies from the Mediterranean and thousands are dying in the sands of the desert between Mexico and the United States, many people are burying their heads in the sand.’ SIMN, loyal to its purpose, remains engaged and working with civil society and governments in the defense and promotion of migrants’ dignity. As Pope Francis himself expressed during his visit to the Island of Lampedusa: ‘We must abandon the globalization of indifference.’” – Fr. Leonir Chiarello, Executive Director of SIMN.