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Migrants in Latin America leaving their home country to escape poverty Credits: Caritas/Hough

Migrants in Latin America leaving their home country to escape poverty
Credits: Caritas/Hough

Caritas is calling on European governments to stop the criminalization of migrants as outlined in new EU legislation.

Caritas organisations in Latin America and the Caribbean have urged Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and European Union states to review their harmful common migration policies.

Caritas and church organisation in Europe backed the call, saying the EU must respect human rights.

A European Parliament directive on 18 June threatens to turn migrants into criminals and allows for their expulsion.

Caritas Latin America and Caribbean President, Bishop Fernando Bargalló says that this policy is opposite to a safe, humane and coherent migratory system that has at its heart the fundamental rights of the human person.

Bishop Fernando Bargalló said “Caritas is urging the European Parliament to reconsider legislation which criminalises honest migrants who are trying to bring their families out of poverty.

“The European Union has benefited for years from the efforts of hard working migrants who have been trying to improve the lives of their families.

“Europe has a history of people escaping poverty to look for work around the world, so it is painful to see them now denying poor people from other continents the same opportunities.

“Every day Caritas staff members see the suffering of immigrant families who have lost their loved beings, died in the sea, or who have suffered at work or been abused.”

Caritas asks for the European Parliament to consider implementing measures:

  • To promote development in the countries of origin of migrants, including the transference of technology and investment to create a more level playing field;
  • To allow for migrants to become permanent residents and EU citizens more easily and quicker after satisfying reasonable criteria;
  • To create legal means for migrants to enter the European Union for work, and guarantee their safety at work and provide them with social rights;
  • To implement border security that is coherent with the human rights. Terrorism must be prevented but the rights of individual must be respected.

Read the full text here (available only in Spanish)