Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pope: illegal immigration

Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday encouraged politicians to tackle the problem of illegal immigration humanely and urged the migrants' homelands to wipe out the criminal groups profiting from those seeking a better life.

"Migration is a phenomenon which has existed from the dawn of humanity," Benedict told pilgrims from many countries at his traditional Sunday noon appearance. But migration has now become "an emergency," the pope said, noting that many boat people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe from Africa.

The problem "requires effective political responses," Benedict said during his appearance at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo near Rome.

The pope said he offered his "applause and encouragement" to those trying to grapple with the problem on regional, national or international levels "so that they continue their worthy action with a sense of responsibility and humanitarian spirit."

"A sense of responsibility must also be shown by the countries of origin, not only because their citizens are involved, but also to remove the causes of irregular migration, as well as to eradicate, at the roots, all forms of criminality linked to it," Benedict told the pilgrims.

The pope also urged migrants to be aware of "the very grave risks they run in the search to better their conditions" as well as "the duty to follow the law."

Surveys in Italy show many Italians blame illegal immigrants for crime. Premier Silvio Berlusconi's government, which includes an anti-immigrant party from affluent northern Italy, has been cracking down on crime and illegal immigrants.


Physiocrat said...

Immigration can be good and bad, depending on the economic circumstances in the receiving country and the culture of the immigrants.

This is proving a huge problem in Scandinavia where cultural differences and the tax and benefits system can make it next to impossible for them to integrate.

gemoftheocean said...

Wow....something sensible said by a pope on a political issue. Funny how when THEY are hit by a problem they also see the light.

[Who is darn sure if the Iraqis HAD used nukes this pope and the previous one would have been wringing hands that Uncle Sucker didn't "do something about it before it happened.]

Dilly said...

That should wind up the sandalistas like clockwork mice!

nickbris said...

These Immigrants come from countries that have been bankrupted by European Imperialists.

They get the same propaganda as we do from TV & Hollywood Movies and think that we are living in Paradise.we now know that we have been living in dreamland and the Immigrants must wonder why we have been feeding them all these lies,when you are starving through no fault of your own you have to resort to desperate measures.

Our original ancestors only moved about through desperation.

A man I know who came here penniless from Sudan has worked himself almost to death to keep his family,he now has two Daughters that have almost qualified as Medical Doctors and they intend to stay here to repay the debt they think they owe to this country.

Red Maria said...

I would have thought that the Holy Father's comments would enrage those on the anti-immigrant right, rather than Sandalistas, Dillydaydream. After all, he stresses that immigrants should be treated humanely, which would rule out the barbaric anti-immigrant policies of countries like Australia.
His comments come just after a issued a pointed warning against the rise of "new and worrying signs of racism" in "some countries".
And just after the Italian Catholic periodical, Famiglia Cristiana expressed its fears about the Berlusconi government: "We hope that the suspicion is never proven true that Fascism is re-emerging among us under other forms," it said.
Though the Pope didn't specify Italy in his warning, that is how it was interpreted and no wonder. One of the Berlusconi government's anti-immigrant policies includes the compulsory fingerprinting of all Roma. This is a repugnant assault on civil liberties as well as a blantant example of racial discrimination aimed at one of the most persecuted minority groups there is. The Roma, along with the Jews were the targets of nazi extermination policies and in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Roma women were forcibly sterilised as late as 2001.
A petition opposing the compulsory fingerprinting of Italian Roma has been set up and I urge everyone to sign it

Red Maria said...

Correction: the most recent case of forced sterilisation against a Roma woman in the Czech Republic was in 2004.
Dozens of complaints of forced sterilisation - all but two made by Roma women - were lodged with the Czech legal ombudsman in 2005 and were upheld a few years later.

Those who object to the presence of immigrants may care to consider consider the kind of countries many of them have left behind. They should ask themselves how they would like it if they experienced what the Roma have; discrimination at every stage in their lives, sent to schools for the mentally sub-normal when young, denied employment as adults, subjected to forced sterilisation so that they were denied the pleasure of large families and subjected to ugly racial abuse by their neighbours. The answer is that they wouldn't like it all. They would do what any rational person would do - emigrate.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Red Maria,
"... which would rule out the barbaric anti-immigrant policies of countries like Australia."

I had always considered our own governments ways of dealing with illegal immigrants were pretty barbaric.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

It's a hard situation. Everyone must be treated humanly, yet must also respect the laws of the given country...I've still yet to come to a complete understanding of how best to fix this situation. One thing is right, we must fix the root of the problem in order for it to go away.

Red Maria said...

Yes, Father Ray, you're quite right to say that the way the British government treats immigrants and asylum-seekers is pretty inhumane. Locking asylum seekers up, as though they are criminals, in places like Campsfield detention centre is appalling. Even worse is deporting them back to countries like Zimbabwe when we know very well how Mugabe deals with political opposition. Bishop Patrick O'Donohue who has defended Roman Catholic orthodoxy so well has also been forthright in condemning the UK government's asylum/immigration policies.

Thus far however, the UK's asylum/immigration policies haven't reached the egregious depths Australia's have. Australian policies were cited by Dillydaydream on a recent thread who questioned whether they were racist. Personally I think the answer to that is an unequivocal yes.

Joe of St Therese, who complains on his own blog that universal healthcare is too much of a burden for American taxpayers to bear,
speaks of immigration as a "problem" which needs "fixing". In passing, one wonders what would have happened had the native Americans taken such an attitude to those who stepped off the Mayflower. He says that everyone must be treated humanely but adds that everyone must respect the laws of a given country.

Aside from the fact that I dispute the notion that immigration is a problem at all - if capital can cross borders, why shouldn't labour? - I take issue with his bracketing of law-abidance with immigrants. For a start, immigrants are no more criminally-inclined than members of a host community. Secondly, immigrants are no more bound to obey unjust laws than anyone else.

The compulsory fingerprinting of all Roma in Italy is an example of a blatantly unjust law.

The Roma are some of the most persecuted people in history. They have endured slavery, genocide, forcible sterilisation and racial abuse. They are also Christians, usually Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic and judging by their birthrates their fidelity to Church teaching puts comfortable Western Catholics to shame. How can we stand for them to be treated like this?

Physiocrat said...

The problem the Roma have is because all land is owned by somebody and most of it is enclosed, apart from common land and strips adjacent to highways.

Land enclosure is a great evil, possibly the first and greatest of all economic evils. Lending money at usurious rates of interest is a consequence of land enclosure and ownership.

Of course everyone has a right to secure OCCUPATION of land but land needs to be made free again. Then the would be room for Romas, Travellers, self-sufficiency people and anyone else who does not want to become a mortage slave to get on the landowning bandwagon, which has just had two of its wheels come off and they are rolling around and causing economic havoc.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Red Maria:

What I was referring to in my blog was illegal immigration is what needs fixing. Not to the law biding immigrants that do things the right way.

Everyone must be treated humanely and respect the laws of the land. (in so far as the laws of the land are just, I assume people don't need the disclaimer)

Strictly speaking we can not reward those who break the law by handing them everything. It is liken to the child that whines to get everything he wants and you give in. The more that you give in, the less they appreciate what they have.

Again, this assuming that the law of land x is just and morally acceptable. In most cases the laws are just. (They're just NOT enforced). What good is having law if you can't enforce it? These are the things that I notice specifically with the American situation. I'm ignorant on the situation in regards to Europe, Australia and Asia to comment on such.

The question as far as illegal immigration is concerned...what's causing them to want to come to country x or y. Is it an economic situation? A persecution? some other factor? The situation can only be fixed by the people putting pressure on their government to fix the situation (and the country where people are immigrating to, assisting in the cause to a small degree) Conditions in the original country have to improve in order to stop illegal immigration.

I will add the clarifications at my blog to maybe help clarify my points.

Red Maria said...

I don't see that illegal immigration is a problem for anyone but the poor benighted immigrant. Indeed I think that most restrictive immigration laws are unjust. I repeat, if capital can travel, why shouldn't labour? It is intrinsically unjust to force people to stay in poor countries with low life expectancy rates, high infant and maternal mortality and morbidity rates simply because they have a historical connection with that place when the rational thing for them to do would be to move to a richer more developed country like the USA.

That there are push (economic and/or political conditions) and pull (expanding economies, free societies) factors in immigration trends is too pedestrian a point to dwell on. If one thinks that illegal immigration is a "problem" which needs "fixing" - which I emphatically don't - one may develop quite a fascination with why people are emigrating and what can be done to stop them. It's not something which particularly concerns me. I don't develop an interest in overseas politics only when I want to keep people out.

There's also something deeply absurd in the US, a country built by immigrants, many of whom didn't have the courtesy to ask the native Americans for permission before making their homes there, having restrictive immigration laws at all.

It's almost as absurd as the fact that in this day and age, it still has no national health service.

Physiocrat said...

Red Maria - why are people poor when techological progress has enormously increased the productive power of human labour? Don't answer "Capitalism", it is too loose a term - there is no consistent and agreed definition, so you need to say which particular features of capitalism is causing the division between rich and poor in a condition of constantly increasing ability to produce wealth. It is not free markets, because first of all, the condition does not exist, and second, if markets are not going to be allowed to allocate resources then it must be done coercively by bureaucrats and politicians.

Which comes to the final point. Why should a country need a national health service? One reason is that medical care is not the vocation it once was, but in any case it is expensive to provide all the training and technology. But a major reason why the state has ended up providing all these services is that too many people are poor. So again, why is this?

Clue and paradox: some of the poorest people in the world live in the countries best endowed with natural resources. And those countries least blighted by extremes of wealth and poverty have the least in the way of natural resources.

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