Editorial: In our reporting for our special Seeking Refuge series, we found a new urgency and a new inspiration. The testimonies of refugees illustrate that we cannot look away from the challenge of migration; the work of religious sisters shows us that much is possible.
Honduras ranks as the sixth most unequal country in the world. Drug cartels are common, and workers are subjected to extortion. Women are fleeing Honduras to protect their children from gangs: boys are forced to become foot soldiers while girls are preyed upon against their wills. Now under tougher U.S. policies, gang violence will no longer qualify for asylum claims. And deportees are arriving back in Honduras in massive numbers.
• Also in this series: As resettlement agency in Kansas closes, other doors open
The International Rescue Committee in Garden City, Kansas, is closing down in September, one of the casualties of Trump administration policies to reduce the number of refugees settling in the U.S., echoing a political ethos that first began brewing in Kansas in 2015. More than 22 percent of Garden City's residents are foreign-born, even though Kansas isn't a major primary resettlement destination — but there is ready employment in the meat-packing industry.
• Also in this series: Fitting in without losing cultural roots, Burmese refugees advance in Indiana
The global compacts are documents that are not legally binding but provide a framework for nations to work together. "Even just the idea of international cooperation on the issue of migration was a victory. Now, it needs to be institutionalized," says Sr. Marvie Misolas, representative of the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns at the U.N.
America has long been known as a melting pot, but those who work with refugees say that idea misses the point. In a melting pot, the ingredients lose their individuality and become one with the whole. Rather than assimilation, they say, the goal should be integration — to be part of the whole without losing cultural, ethnic and religious identity. The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ in Fort Wayne, Indiana, have helped thousands of Burmese refugees make their way in this midwestern city of 266,000.
• Also in this series: Painful memories, new cultures confront resettled families
Dominican Sr. Donna Markham, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, grew emotional talking about the harrowing stories she heard from immigrants about the life they left behind to seek refuge in the United States.
When our group of 12 teachers and pastoral workers from the Cincinnati Archdiocese traveled to a parish in Huispache, Guatemala, we became a bridge between loved ones who had not seen one another in too many years. With each encounter, the globe seemed to shrink un poquito.
Rome - Two Syrian families have been easing their way into life in Italy at Casa della Speranza on quiet, shaded grounds owned by the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit. Now in their second year at the house, the Syrians' time with the sisters has "been beautiful — like one family." But ahead is the next challenging step in resettlement: finding permanent housing and work.
• Also in this series: Controversy over migration continues to upend European politics
Seeking Refuge - A new EU agreement calls for greater shared responsibility for rescuing migrants on the sea, but critics say it falls short on devising a common European policy. Meanwhile, Germany's Merkel tightens restrictions, and an Italian right-wing politician has said next year's European Parliament elections should be a referendum on migration.
Italian Sr. Elisabetta Flick heads a ministry of the International Union of Superiors General that accompanies migrants after they arrive in Sicily. Amid a changing migration climate, the sisters' pastoral work involves accompanying the migrants, who face fear and hostility as they try to integrate into Italian society.
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