Vatican’s U.N. rep: immigration debate must not be manipulated for short-term political gain at expense of human beings

.- Speaking to the United Nation’s Commission on Population and Development yesterday, the Holy See’s Archbishop Celestino Migliore urged leaders to understand the complexity of the current immigration debate and recognize that certain benefits often exist for receiving countries.

Speaking to the world body, Archbishop Migliore, who is the Vatican’s permanent observer to the U.N., said that "The work of the commission includes the examination of trends and impacts upon population and development like HIV, unknown 60 years ago, and the migration of peoples, with their respective consequences."

He added that sometimes, the phenomenon of migration "is painted as a threat and is manipulated for short term political gain, at the expense of the most natural rights of all human beings - the right to life, to citizenship, to work and to development."

"For receiving countries,” he went on, “the net economic impact of international migration is said to be generally positive. Although the presence of international migrants may have a small adverse effect on the wages of non-migrants or may raise unemployment when wages are rigid, such effects are usually small at the national level.

He said that “Over the medium and long term, migration can even generate employment and produce net fiscal gains."

Archbishop Migliore pointed out that "the emigration of skilled personnel can be detrimental to the development prospects of countries of origin, especially small developing countries losing high proportions of skilled citizens.”

He balanced this however, by saying that “skilled migrants who maintain ties with their countries of origin may stimulate the transfer of technology and capital."

The archbishop also highlighted the fact that "Due to low fertility, net migration counts for three quarters of the population growth in developed countries and, by 2030, migration may account for all population growth in those countries.”

For this reason, he stressed, “The social impact of migration on receiving countries with shrinking birth rates, now needs to be better understood."

Concluding his address, the prelate highlighted the need to understand that "immigration cannot be the single solution to demographic and labor problems of receiving countries."

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