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See migration as an opportunity, urges Vatican envoy

March 08, 2012

Migration should be recognized as an opportunity rather than a problem, for the Church and for host countries as well as for migrants themselves, argues Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s observer at UN headquarters in Geneva.

Archbishop Tomasi—who once served as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Migrants—told Vatican Radio that the Church has learned to see migration in a positive light. “It does not see only the immediate problems that emerge when a new community settles in a country with different habits, different cultures, a (different) language that doesn’t facilitate communication.” In the long run, he said, “it is well documented that migrations are a benefit for the migrants, for the countries of origin of the migrant and above all, for the country of arrival where they contribute their work, their intelligence, their talents and in the long run they become very productive citizens of these new countries.”

In a related development a study by the Pew Forum has found that migrants—those living outside their native land--total roughly 3% of the world’s population: 214 million people. (Only four countries in the world—China, India, the US, and Indonesia—have a larger population.) Christians account for 49% of those migrants, with the largest single number coming from Mexico.


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