Cardinal Rivera says best answer for migrants is not to have to migrate

In commemoration of Migrant Day this week in Mexico, Cardinal Norberto Rivera, Archbishop of Mexico City, said the best way to help migrants is to ensure that they do not have to leave their countries of origin.

Addressing President Vicente Fox, the Missionaries of Charity—who are commemorating the anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa—and hundreds of faithful, the Cardinal said that “there can be no real peace without justice and without respect for human rights.”

“Creating concrete conditions of peace, with regards to immigrants and refugees, means to be seriously committed to defending above all the right not to emigrate, that is, to live in peace and dignity in one’s own country,” the Cardinal said.

In this sense, the pointed out that “thanks to an attentive local and national administration, to more equitable commerce and to international cooperation, each country should be able to assure for its own inhabitants not only freedom of expression and movement, but also the possibility of obtaining fundamental necessities, such as food, health care, work, housing, education, the lack of which leaves many people with no choice but to emigrate.”

Referring to the right to emigrate, the Cardinal acknowledged that “it is the government’s responsibility to control the flow of immigrants, respecting completely the dignity of the person and the needs of families, keeping in mind the requirements of the societies that welcome immigrants.”

“International agreements defending emigrants already exist, as well as those who seek refuge or political asylum in other countries. These agreements can always be improved,” he added.

Speaking with reporters, Cardinal Rivera underscored his hope that “among us Mexicans there might be a greater awareness of how we should treat migrants.  Here in the capital, there are many migrants. Many brothers and sisters from Central America visit us, either of their own will or because they must find a place to survive, and we should be conscientious of our duty towards them.”

“Come to Mass more often”

Cardinal Rivera also surprised reporters when he responded to a question about the mistreatment of immigrants with an unusual request:  “Come to Mass more often, because I have been asked this question several times already.  I have addressed it many times, but you all show up only when the President comes.”

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