Written by Sherry
Monday, 04 February 2008 07:46
The New York Times highlights the small but mighty Migration Information Services, the foremost source of information about migration around the world.
The short version?
Migration is growing everywhere - due to cheap travel, the internet age, the growing wealth of those in the developing world - in short - globalization.
There are 200 million migrants in the world today - probably a historical record and 80% are outside the US. While US wages are about 4 times those available in Mexico, wages in Spain are 15 times those in Senegal - which is why Spanish immigrants have grown 600% over the past 10 years.
One fascinating article about refugee resettlement in the US:
Of the 10 countries that carry out resettlement programs, the United States accepts more than double the number of refugees accepted by the other nine countries combined, resettling approximately 2.5 million people since 1975.
Though comprising only 10 percent of annual immigration to the United States, refugees are a distinct component of the foreign-born population in many US metropolitan areas.
And there are so many implications of this global reality for the debates within the Catholic community in this election year. For instance:
"over 1.4 million Indochinese have been resettled, and together with those from the former Soviet Union, they make up nearly 77 percent of the 2.4 million refugees who have been resettled in the United States since 1975."
My first job out of college was in refugee resettlement. Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, Miao, Mien, Black Thai, ethnic Chinese from all over. Now I'm running into the children of those immigrants in seminaries
A couple of reflections:
1) We cannot discern rightly the application of Church teaching in this area unless we have a better understanding of the global reality, of which our experience in the US is only a part and not necessarily the most dramatic example. If globalization means that world-wide migration continues to climb and is a universal reality, what implications does that have for how we understand and implement Catholic social teaching in this area?
2) Multi-culturalism is the future of our clergy - and our parishes - in the US, especially in certain areas of the country. And no group - except possibly Hispanics, is going to be the overwhelming majority. (One of our priest C & C teachers has just been made pastor of the largest parish in his diocese, which is 80% Spanish-speaking!)
That means that the debates that have riven the Anglo Catholic world over the past 40 years - especially those that rose from the implementation of Vatican II - will take their place as one concern among many. The debates and concerns of these new immigrant groups are different because their historical experience is different.
The New York Times article about Migration Information Service ends with this anecdote provided by MIS's one staff person:
As for the difficulties that migration can bring, Ms. Kalia encountered them early when her uncle, who is Dutch and a Catholic priest, flew to California to baptize her baby brother. Her Hindu grandmother lived with the family, and locked herself in her bedroom, beside a Lord Krishna poster, until the uncle promised to desist.