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USCCB News Release Archives

 
10-100
May 19, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Migration Chairs of Mexican and U.S. Bishops’ Conferences Issue Joint Statement on President Calderon’s Visit to the United States


WASHINGTON—Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, and Archbishop Rafael Romo Muñoz of Tijuana, Mexico, head of the Mexican Episcopal Conference Migration Commission, issued May 19, a joint statement on the occasion of President Felipe Caderón  of Mexico visit to the United States.

In the statement, the bishops urged Presidents Obama and Calderón to focus their conversation on the need for reform of their respective immigration systems; the need to uphold the respect for human rights and dignity of migrants and citizens alike while protecting their nation’s borders; and the implementation of fair trade and development policies that would stem the need for people to migrate, while making sure the immigration system provides sufficient legal visas or legal status for immigrants to work in jobs that are important to the U.S. economy.

The statement was released in bilingual form. Full statement follows. 

 

Statement of Most Reverend John C. Wester
Bishop of Salt Lake City, Utah
Chairman, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration

And

Most Reverend Rafael Romo Muñoz
Archbishop of Tijuana, Mexico
Chairman, Mexican Episcopal Conference Migration Commission

On

The State Visit of Mexican President Felipe Calderon to the United States
En Ocasión de la Visita del Presidente Felipe Calderón a Estados Unidos

May 19, 2010

 

On behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Mexican Episcopal Conference (CEM), we welcome the visit of Mexican President Felipe Calderon to the United States.   The relationship between the United States and Mexico is extremely important, with mutual cooperation and understanding paramount.   We pray that this visit will strengthen the political and policy-based relationship of the two leaders and their countries.

La Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos (USCCB) y la Conferencia del Episcopado Mexicano (CEM) vemos con satisfacción la visita del mandatario mexicano Felipe Calderón a Estados Unidos. La cooperación y el entendimiento mutuo son de suma importancia en la relación de ambos estados. Elevamos nuestras oraciones para que esta visita fortalezca la relación política de ambos líderes y las naciones que gobiernan.

Specifically, we urge both leaders to focus upon the issue of immigration and how it impacts the most vulnerable: the migrant worker and their families.  While we respect the obligation of both countries to ensure the integrity of their borders and the security of their peoples, we believe they can achieve these goals without sacrificing the basic human dignity and rights of the migrant. 

Particularmente, urgimos a ambos líderes a centrar su atención en la migración, y cómo ésta afecta a los más vulnerables: al trabajador migrante y su familia. Si bien respetamos la obligación de ambos países de garantizar la integridad de sus fronteras y la seguridad de sus pueblos, también creemos que estos objetivos se pueden alcanzar sin sacrificar la dignidad humana básica y los derechos de los migrantes.

This requires both countries to examine critically their immigration policies, both in the areas of legal immigration and enforcement, and their adverse impact on human beings.

Esto requiere que ambos países, examinen con ojo crítico tanto sus políticas migratorias como la aplicación de sus leyes y el impacto adverso en los seres humanos.

With regard to the United States, it is essential that immigration reform legislation become a priority.  Currently, the U.S. immigration system does not provide sufficient legal visas or legal status for immigrants to work in jobs that are important to the U.S. economy. A system which provides legal avenues for migration would reduce the exploitation of migrants by human smugglers and the number of migrant deaths in the desert.  Reform must also bring migrants out of the shadows, so that they can live with their families without fear.

Con respecto a Estados Unidos, es necesario que el gobierno dé  prioridad a una reforma migratoria integral. El sistema migratorio actual de Estados Unidos no proporciona suficientes vías legales o estatutos jurídicos para que los inmigrantes obtengan trabajos claves para la economía del país. Un sistema que proporcione vías legales para la inmigración reduciría la explotación a la que los trabajadores están sujetos por traficantes de personas y el número de  migrantes que perecen en el desierto. Una reforma integral, además sacaría de la sombra a miles de inmigrantes indocumentados, para que puedan vivir con sus familias sin temor. 

With regard to Mexico, changes must be made to ensure that migrants are not abused and subject to exploitation by criminal elements and corrupt officials.  More attention should be paid to the creation of living-wage employment for low-skilled workers, so that they can stay at home and support their families in dignity.  This would help reduce illegal immigration over the long-term, a goal which both nations share.

Respecto a México, los cambios deben garantizar que los migrantes no sean objeto de abusos ni sujetos de explotación por parte de bandas criminales y funcionarios corruptos. Es necesario prestar atención a la creación de oportunidades para sus ciudadanos en sus lugares de origen, que les permitan vivir en condiciones dignas en su país. Esta situación ayudaría a reducir la migración indocumentada a largo plazo, un objetivo que ambas naciones comparten.

The United States and Mexico have an opportunity to work together to prevent illegal immigration in a humane manner, not in a way which places total emphasis on enforcement measures.   While both countries exchange commerce, information, and capital on a regular basis, the movement of labor has yet to be regularized, to the detriment of the basic rights of human beings.

Estados Unidos y México tienen la oportunidad de trabajar juntos para prevenir la migración indocumentada de forma humana y no sólo aplicando medidas restrictivas. Mientras que ambos países intercambian comercio, información y capital con regularidad, el movimiento de mano de obra entre ambos países aún no se regulariza, en detrimento de los derechos fundamentales de muchos seres humanos.

Over the long-term, cooperation and aid agreements as well as trade and economic pacts considered by both nations should address the movement of labor and the impact such agreements may have on the migration of peoples between the two countries. 

A largo plazo, el comercio, la cooperación y los acuerdos económicos considerados por ambas naciones deberían abordar el tema del flujo de trabajadores y el impacto que tales acuerdos pueden tener en la migración de personas entre los dos países.

The United States and Mexico face a crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border, with drug cartels and human smuggling networks battling with law enforcement and placing citizens of both sides of the border at risk.   Repairing the immigration laws in both countries would help take migrants out of the enforcement equation and would permit law enforcement to focus their limited resources on criminal networks.

Estados Unidos y México enfrentan una crisis a lo largo de su frontera común, en la lucha contra de carteles de la droga y redes de contrabando humano, que pone en riesgo a los ciudadanos que residen en ambos lados de la frontera. Reparar las leyes migratorias de ambos países, ayudaría a sacar a los inmigrantes de la ecuación  y facilitaría que las fuerzas de seguridad enfoquen los  recursos limitados de que disponen en el combate contra redes criminales.

In conclusion, we urge both President Obama and President Calderon to work cooperatively toward the mutual goals of creating a safe border and a humane and fair immigration system.  Only through bi-national cooperation will this issue be solved in a manner which serves the interests of both nations, upholds the rule of law, and respects the rights of both U.S. and Mexican citizens.  

En conclusión, rogamos  tanto al Presidente Obama como al Presidente Calderón que trabajen en conjunto hacia un objetivo común para crear una frontera segura y un sistema de inmigración humano y justo. Solamente a través de la cooperación binacional este problema se resolverá de una manera que sirva a los intereses de ambas naciones, respete sus leyes y los derechos de sus conciudadanos.

+Rafael Romo Muñoz
Arzobispo de Tijuana y Responsable de la Dimensión Pastoral de la Movilidad Humana
Conferencia del Episcopado Mexicano

 

Most Rev. John C. Wester
Bishop of Salt Lake City
Chairman, USCCB Committee on Migration

 ---

Keywords: immigration, comprehensive immigration reform, Barack Obama, Felipe Calderón, Mexico, United States, Archbishop Rafael Romo Muñoz, Bishop John C. Wester, Catholic bishops, USCCB, Conferencia del Episcopado Mexicano


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