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Basic human rights reflected in international rights regimes and presupposed in Catholic social ethics are universal in theory, yet in practice their exercise depends upon legally sanctioned membership in a political community. This gap between the normativity of the dignity of the migrant and the practical denial of their rights is maintained by (1) standard paradigms for analysing migration and (2) a related neglect of structural injustices that facilitate rights violations. The Catholic tradition’s social anthropology, understanding of social sin, and commitment to a global common good are poised to reorient responsibility for irregular migration beyond individuals who cross borders or overstay visas alone.

In: Interdisciplinary Journal for Religion and Transformation in Contemporary Society