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athgarvan

REFUGEE or MIGRANT?

Last Sunday, hundreds of churches rang out their bells in solidarity with refugees and migrants and in protest against racism and xenophobia. The initiative was the brainchild of Church of Ireland Dean of Waterford, Reverend Maria Jansson. It was supported by former president of Ireland, Mary McAleese.

The western world is currently witnessing a tide of anti-immigration that is especially directed at Muslims. A majority of people in 10 European countries want a complete halt to all Muslim immigration, and not simply a temporary ban from six Muslim countries as recently ordered by Donald Trump. The rest are undecided.

What is the proper Christian response to this situation? To begin with we must distinguish between refugees (those who NEED acceptance) and migrants (those who WANT acceptance). Refugees are fleeing places of war, famine and persecution. Migrants are generally seeking better economic opportunities, as millions of Irish people have over the last two centuries.

Pope Francis has been a consistent advocate on behalf of refugees. So, we have a clear moral and legal duty to refugees. We can help them in various ways. One is to grant them haven in our own countries, and another is to send them help where they are.

What about migrants? They are in a different category because they are not fleeing for their lives, but are simply moving in search of a better life. In this regard, two goods need to be held in balance. One is the good of the would-be immigrant, and the second is the good of the receiving community. Not even countries built on immigration, like America, Canada or Australia, have open border policies that allow in anyone who wants to come. This would be unfair on their own citizens.

Comments

Sorry I deleted your comment by mistake. There were 2 copies of it and attempting to remove one I managed to remove the too. Thank you. Sorry for my mistake.
my grandfather was fleeing conscription into the Russian army
my grandmother and her brother and sister were leaving because their family land had been seized by the Russians

i suppose they were not "refugees" but "immigrants"

the usa has it's immigration laws because of prejudice and bigotry
certain segments of our economy depend on immigrants -"illegal" ones for some sectors

there is a scriptural clue as to how Christians should welcome people fleeing for whatever reason

"Out of Egypt I have brought my son"

though not historically true the family's flight into Egypt gives us a lesson in the plight of those homeless and dependent on others
Where in the Gospel does it draw a distinction between refugees and migrants?

"I was a stranger and you welcomed me."
Germany has taken in millions. No country, however rich, could cope with that if they were only immigrants looking for a better life.
why not?
Germany is one of the most productive countries
workers are needed and produce wealth
and a better life

here in the USA there is much that needs to be done
some of it is still "grunt work" - agriculture is still a hands on work for many tasks
but we have jobs for trained workers - but we need training programs

we are facing a new industrial age without the government and banking people taking a good look at what is needed and moving to create the jobs and markets necessary

people don't want a "hand our" - they want work
they want a chance to raise their families with the basic food- shelter - security
and most of all, they want a chance to be the best self they can be - hidden beneath that fleeing migrant looking for work might just be the next person to make the discovery the world needs