Posted by: frroberts | September 14, 2015

Pope Francis on Immigration

Welcoming, welcoming people, and welcoming them as they are. I am the son of emigrants and I belong to the emigration of 1929. But in Argentina, since 1884 Italians and Spanish began to arrive… I don’t know when the first wave of Portuguese arrived. But they came mostly from these three countries. And when they arrived, some had money, others would go to the emigrant hotels and from there they would be sent to the cities. They would go to work, or to search for work. It is true that, in those days there was work, but the ones from my family – who had jobs when they arrived in 29 – by 1932, with the economic crisis of the thirties, were out on the street, with nothing. My grandfather bought a warehouse with 2000 pesos which he borrowed, and my father, who was an accountant, was selling goods out of a basket. So they had the will to fight, to succeed… I know about migration! And then came the migrations of the Second World War, especially from central Europe, many Poles, Slovaks, Croatians, Slovenians and also Syrians and Lebanese. And we always got along over there. There was no xenophobia in Argentina. And now there are the internal migrations within America, they come from other American countries to Argentina, despite having diminished over the past few years, because there has been less work in Argentina.

And also from Mexico to the United States…

This migration phenomenon is a reality. But I want to speak about this without pointing my finger at anyone in particular. When there is an empty space, people try to fill it. If a country has no children, immigrants come in and take their place. I think of the birth-rate in Italy, Portugal and Spain. I believe it is close to 0%. So, if there are no children, there are empty spaces. And this not wanting to have children is, partly – and this is my interpretation, which may not be correct –, due to a culture of comfort, isn’t it? In my own family I heard, a few years ago, my Italian cousins saying: “Children? No. We prefer to travel on our vacations, or buy a villa, or this and that”… And the elderly are more and more alone. I believe Europe’s greatest challenge is to go back to being a mother Europe…

…as opposed to…

… grandmother Europe.

Although, there are European countries which are young, for example, Albania. Albania impressed me, people around 40, 45… and Bosnia and Herzegovina, that is, countries which rebuilt themselves after a war.

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