I’m excited to begin the week with the People’s Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights here in New York City. Our delegation sponsored by United Methodist Women and GBGM met on Saturday for orientation. I am humbled to be with people from all around the world who work to make life better for migrants. We have folks from Argentina, South Korea, Africa, Japan Philippines, Mexico, Switzerland, Australia, Sonora (Mexico) and several states in the U.S. There are four of us from the human trafficking team of UMW. The youngest person is 23 years old and was born in Georgia and raised in Mexico and is back in Georgia living and attending a UMC. A few of the delegates have been participating in the PGA on migration for several years already. Carol Barton of UMW gave a quite an over-view of some of the issues to be discussed. The economic implications of migrants for both the global South and the global North are sobering. On the backs of immigrants who send significant amounts of remittances home, many Third World countries hope to spur economic development. This alleviates the need for the First World to help the Third World finance much-needed economic development programs and projects. Of course, the issue is that migrants are being denied fundamental human rights in many of the countries where they have been forced to go to work in order to survive and to help their families survive. In the U. S. the criminalization of migration adds another barrier. Migration is an age-old phenomenon and has over the last 15 years or so been punished criminally ever more so in the U.S. starting with the IRAIRA–Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. This, of course, gave the impetus for the United Methodist Committee on Relief to start Justice for Our Neighbors, by the way.
I’m excited to begin the week