WASHINGTON (October 26, 2000) -- Understanding the source and reasons for migration from three Central American countries, as well as how U.S. policies affect migration flows are part of the agenda for a delegation of U.S. Bishops visiting the region October 29 to November 4.
Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio of Camden (NJ), who chairs the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/U.S. Catholic Conference's Migration Committee, will be joined by Committee members Auxiliary Bishop John R. Manz of Chicago and Auxiliary Bishop Richard J. Garcia of Sacramento on a seven-day visit to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.
"Pope John Paul II has called on the Catholics of the western hemisphere to greater solidarity with one another, and the Committee on Migration sees this fact-finding mission as an important step towards that goal," said Bishop DiMarzio. "Conditions and events in Central America can impact government policies and pastoral activities in the United States, and policies here impact people's lives there. This trip is intended to reaffirm our solidarity with the people of those nations and to better inform ourselves as we make recommendations to Congress and the Administration."
Among the goals of the delegation are: to study the causes of migration in the three countries, including economic conditions, the effects of Hurricanes Mitch and Georges, and others; to learn more about the characteristics of the migrants in the region; to understand how U.S. immigration law and policy impact migration flows from Central America; to learn about the impact of remittances to the region (money sent back to the region from earlier migrants currently living and working in the United States), the flight of labor from the region to the United States, and the linkage between development and migration; to express solidarity with the Central American Bishops and their people.
In each country, the delegation will be hosted by the national bishops' conference. They will seek meetings with government officials, the U.S. ambassador, and representatives of humanitarian agencies.
The delegation will be staffed by J. Kevin Appleby, MRS's director of migration and refugee policy.
The U.S. Catholic Conference is the public policy agency of the Catholic Bishops in the United States. Its Migration and Refugee Services department staffs the Migration Committee and implements the Bishops' priorities in the areas of refugee resettlement, public policy development and advocacy, and pastoral care for migrants and refugees.