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U.S. bishop: Media can counter fears by showing refugees as real people


Retired Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, N.M., poses for a May 12 photo in Rome. Bishop Ramirez, who is a consultant for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, was one of dozens of bishops and directors of offices for migrants and refugees attending a special session sponsored by the Dicastery for Integral Human Development June 12-13 in Rome. (CNS photo/Carol Glatz)

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- By telling individual stories and putting a human face on migrants seeking a new home, the media can help inspire communities to assist and not be afraid of newcomers, said one U.S. bishop.

"One thing we really need to work on, especially in the United States, is to do advocacy work and education of the community because there is still a lot of resistance to the welcoming of the immigrant and refugees," retired Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, New Mexico, told Catholic News Service June 12.

"People are afraid. And I think we have to listen and understand where that fear comes from, but at the same time we have to educate people about human rights, about the church's tradition" and how so many Americans are decedents of immigrants, he said on the sidelines of a meeting at the Vatican.

Bishop Ramirez, who is a consultant for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, was one of dozens of bishops and directors of offices for migrants and refugees attending a special session sponsored by the Dicastery for Integral Human Development June 12-13.

Participants were crafting ideas and best practices for safeguarding the rights of refugees, migrants and trafficked persons. The strategies were going to be presented to Pope Francis for approval and then to a meeting working on a proposed U.N. global compact on migration.

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