The rights of migrants (refugees, immigrants, asylum seekers, migrant workers, and internally displaced persons-IDPs) begin with the foundation of Catholic Social Teaching, namely, the dignity and sanctity of the human person. The right to life and the conditions worthy of life—when threatened by poverty, injustice, religious intolerance, armed conflict, and other root causes—give rise to the right to migrate.1 As Pope John XXIII explained:

Every human being has the right to freedom of movement and of residence within the confines of his own country; and, when there are just reasons for it, the right to emigrate to other countries and take up residence there. The fact that one is a citizen of a particular state does not detract in any way from his membership in the human family as a whole, nor from his citizenship in the world community.

This is a right to both emigrate from one’s own country and immigrate into another country.

Resource Type(s):