Closing borders will not solve immigrant woes, say Vatican officials

.- Presenting the Holy Father's message for the 94th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Renato Raffaele Martino and Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People announced this morning that countries must welcome migrants with hospitality into their borders.

The message, on the theme, "St. Paul Migrant, Apostle of the Peoples," was written for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, to be celebrated on January 18, 2009. 

Presenting the message this morning, Cardinal Martino affirmed that "the phenomenon of migration in a globalized world is becoming effectively unstoppable. The problem will not be solved by closing frontiers, but by States welcoming - with just, well-balanced regulation - the migratory flows."

Archbishop Marchetto added that hospitality is necessary for the pastoral care for refugees, asylum-seekers and displaced persons.  "Hospitality ensures that we welcome others as persons - and in some cases also as brothers or sisters in the faith - and that we do not consider them as a cases, numbers, or mere components of the workforce."

The prelate also noted that for years, refugees have been treated “with no consideration for the reasons that forced them to flee. This has also been translated into attempts to prevent their entry into States and into the adoption of measures aimed at making such entry more difficult" such as "the obligation to possess entrance visas, and the publication of lists of so-called 'safe countries'."

"May the dedication with which St. Paul the migrant carried out his mission, inspire the Church and society to find united responses to the challenges present in modern society, so as to promote peaceful coexistence among different ethnic groups, cultures and religions,” Archbishop Marchetto prayed.

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