When we hear the word, “migration,” many Americans think of partisan politics, sanctuary cities and the wall. Global migration, though, moves well beyond those categories. There are over 240 million migrants in the world today. Roughly 20 million persons are “forced migrants” and refugees struggling to survive. The top 10 counties in the world that assist migrants and refugees are found far from the U.S. and Mexico border. Five of them are in sub-Saharan Africa, in some of the most underdeveloped countries in the world. Forty-eight percent of migrants are women, whose plight is often exploited by organized criminals for the lucrative enterprise of human trafficking.
Conditions of civil strife and violent extremism have created a crisis for 40 million people that are referred to as “internally displaced persons,” or IDPs. The small Rakhine State in Myanmar, where Pope Francis visited a few months ago, accounts for more than a half million IDPs to date. Others families have fled nightmare situations like the ones in Syria and Yemen.
Thankfully there are well-organized groups that are ready to help. One of the largest is Catholic Relief Services (CRS). CRS reaches over 120 million people a year in more than 110 countries around the world. Close to 95 percent of the money donated to CRS provides direct assistance to people in need. The CRS Rice Bowls that are found in every parish in the diocese will be collected in a few short weeks. Seventy-five percent of that money will support CRS, while 25 percent will be used right here, locally. We can make a difference today.