Bishops of Central, North America call for regional migration summit

TECUN UMAN, Guatemala (CNS) — Bishops from the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Central America called on their governments to convene a regional summit to assess the causes of migration and to work out a regional plan for cooperation on migration and development.

“We are at a pivotal moment in the history of migration in this hemisphere,” said the statement, dated June 4, which was released at the conclusion of a meeting of 10 bishops from the region and two Vatican representatives. “There is no time to waste,” it said. The conference, one of a series of regular meetings for the region’s bishops on migration issues, was held at a migrants’ center in western Guatemala, near the Mexican border.

The bishops’ statement described the combination of political opportunities created by the change in the White House and urgency fed by the global economic crisis and the increased role of organized crime in human trafficking. “The global economic crisis has impacted all nations and must be considered in seeking solutions to problems of illegal immigration,” the bishops wrote. “An examination of global economic agreements and their impact on migration flows also must be included.”

It referred to the dangers faced by migrants who “suffer at the hands of smugglers, human traffickers and drug cartels” who “continue to suffer abuse and even death as they seek to find work to support their families.”

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