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Returning immigrants to the their places of origin not a solution, says Spanish bishop

.- The president of the Spanish bishops’ Committee on Migration, Bishop Jose Sanchez, said repatriating sub-Saharan immigrants on the Canary Islands to their countries of origin is not a solution to the immigration problem and said the Church is doing “all that it can.”

Spain is currently dealing with a serious influx of immigrants fleeing their own African countries in fishing boats to seek refuge on the Canary Islands.

At the headquarters of Caritas Spain, Bishop Sanchez explained that any solution must address the roots of the problem.  In this sense, he said, developed countries still have a long way to go.

He noted that on the Canary Islands, the Church “is doing as much as it can” to help illegal immigrants.  The work of those involved is “admirable, but totally insufficient,” he added.  The Spanish bishop said the different committees of the Bishops’ Conference need to work together in attending to the needs of immigrants.

Bishop Juan Jose Omella, president of the bishops’ Social Ministry Committee, said immigrants are “the focal point of the work of Caritas, which is directing all of its efforts in this area to protecting their dignity.”  Part of this work is to put into action “programs of co-development in the immigrants’ countries of origin” in order to “improve the living conditions and address the causes of this phenomenon.”

Bishop Omella also called on the media to contribute to changing society by promoting a transformation of attitudes and “structures that will allow the building of a more cohesive society and a future for all.”

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