A world wide humanitarian crisis exists. Lauren Markham in yesterday’s New York Times reports from global relief agencies that over 68 million people have fled their homes due to war, poverty, political oppression or extreme weather conditions such as draught.

We do not solve refugee and immigrations issues by building walls, by treating illegal immigrants as criminals, by damaging long term international relationships with allies of freedom and democracy, by creating enmities through trade wars, by affirming regimes that are dictatorial and oppressive of human rights and by withdrawing from international environmental accords.

We can begin to alleviate the crisis by renewing and forming new alliances among nations to eliminate war (and the nuclear arms race), to fight the causes of poverty which drive people to flee from their homes, to stand strongly for human rights and to protect the environment.

The Church gives principles that can guide our actions: promoting the dignity of the human person – everyone is treated in a respectful manner; strengthening the common good – including laws and policies that protect the poor and vulnerable; building new bonds of solidarity among nations and people of good will – recognizing that we are all neighbors on this planet earth; and by honoring subsidiarity which brings the responsibility for equality and and human rights back to the local neighborhood and regional areas.

Right now numerous countries are trying to address the influx of immigrants and refugees through stop-gap measures. But they will remain stop-gap if the causes are not given thorough study so as to be addressed through international co-operation. People fleeing from violence and poverty are crying to the world for help.

In our own country we have had for a number of years some decent plans for comprehensive immigration reform, but Congress has not been able to bring even a semblance of these plans to law.

Can we not as people in America sit down together in a reasonable manner and begin to solve this great human crisis in our own nation? Can we not as nations on the face of the earth do the same with international co-operation? Where is the will to do so?

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