Marcelo Suárez-Orozco: Immigration is an Ethical Act Of and For the Family

Op-ed in The Boston Globe reflects Pope Francis’ compassion for immigrant populations.

An op-ed by Wasserman Dean Marcelo Suárez-Orozco in today’s Boston Globe highlights the immigrant origins of Pope Francis and the need for Americans to adapt the Pontiff’s compassion for those who seek to escape poverty and suffering through migration.

Suárez-Orozco, who co-directs the Institute for Immigration, Globalization, and Education at UCLA, notes that the Pontiff’s origins as the child of Italian immigrants to Argentina echoes the rich history of immigrants in America – a fact that will resonate with the populations he will visit this week during his first-ever visit to the United States.

“For the Holy Father, immigration responds to an entirely different set of principles,” writes Suárez-Orozco. “Immigration is an act of care – caritas in the biblical tradition. When the Pope recently appealed to “the parishes, the religious communities, the monasteries and sanctuaries of all Europe to . . . take in one family of refugees,” he invoked a 2,000-year–old habitus. In this light, immigration is an ethical act of and for the family.”

“Protecting the family from the Herods of the times — war, collapsing states, obscene poverty, environmental cataclysms — supersedes the malleable and often-expediential logic of rules and practices of the state. For Francis an ethic of family nurturance, reciprocity, and caritas animates global migration. It is what drives Syrians and Afghans to Germany — Asians and Latin Americans to the U.S.”

Suárez-Orozco is a Distinguished Professor of Education at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, and the co-founder and co-director of the Harvard Immigration Projects. He has authored multiple essays on mass migration for Pope Francis’ Pontifical Academies, and will participate in a workshop titled, “Children and Sustainable Development: A Challenge for Education,” that will be held by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS) in November.

“I am humbled and deeply honored to represent UCLA Ed & IS at this extraordinarily important Workshop of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences,” says Suárez-Orozco. “The release earlier this year of Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, invites deep thinking about our relationship with an ever more miniaturized and fragile planet, and augurs a turning point in how we teach and learn about the environment moving forward.”

Suárez-Orozco will serve as a keynote speaker for a conference on “Transforming Migrations: Beyond the 1965 Immigration Act,” at the University of California, Irvine, Oct.8-9. Professor Suarez-Orozco will speak on “The Empire of Suffering: Further Thoughts on Mass Migration in the Age of Dystopia.”

To read “An Immigrant Pope for the Age of Mass Migration” in The Boston Globe, click here.