Human rights should be at the heart of immigration policy, Vatican says

.- Speaking to the United Nations International Commission on Migration today, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland, insisted on the necessity to maintain a strong immigration policy that is based upon ethics and human rights.  

In his speech, Archbishop Tomasi affirmed that, “The lesson of history is that migrants enrich cultures and societies and that trans-national families and communities create bridges of understanding and productive inter-action. It shows that the most important resource of all is the human person.”

While the international community reevaluates immigration policies, Tomasi said, it’s important to keep in mind several keys for success.  For instance he said, immigration policies will only be successful, “if the concern for security does not turn into just a restrictive logic in order to hinder migrants from entering a country, but becomes an orderly, rationalized and coordinated relationship between available human resources and the need for manpower in receiving societies.”

In addition, the archbishop said, success relies on whether or not, “the migrants themselves, their human dignity and rights, are placed at the center of current debates and formulations of policies, not just as functional instruments of specific economic and demographic planning, but as protagonists in a common project.”

Tomasi, said the Holy See recognizes the economic aspects which lead to a sometimes “unruly” immigration situation, but continues to maintain that, “a sustainable ethical policy enhances and does not limit reaching economic goals, development and the possibility of living together.”

“A solid, human rights-based ethical approach gives a steady orientation and a sense of coherence to both policy and strategy. A fair ethical dimension provides a balanced foundation to the action of the State, of the migrants, and to their respective interests, and it cannot be left out of the current migration discussions,” Archbishop Tomasi said.

For instance, he pointed out, “national legislation cannot aim at regulating only the flows of services and jobs without taking into account the person that provides those services. For this reason, family reunification must be a primary consideration: the family plays a fundamental role in the integration process, in giving stability to the presence of the immigrants in the new social environment, and even in the dynamics of temporary migrations.”

While many of the proceedings at the U.N. offices in Geneva occur in French, Archbishop Tomasi offered his speech in English.

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