Catholic charity urges EU to help immigrants bring families

Caritas Europa family reunification meeting in Brussels, Belgium, March 13-15, 2012. Credit: Caritas Europa.

Catholic charity Caritas Europa has called on the European Union to ensure that immigrants are allowed to bring their families with them as they assimilate into local countries.

“We raised our concerns over current practices in some EU member states that prevent migrants and refugees from being reunited with their families,” said Caritas Europa secretary general Jorge Nuño Mayer.

In an open letter, Caritas Europa’s executive board – which governs the 49 member organizations within the network – urged a more concentrated effort from the EU to “ensure independent residence status for reunited family members as early as possible.”

The EU includes 27 sovereign member states across the European continent, with a combined population of over 500 million people.

During a meeting in Brussels from March 13-15, Caritas board members said they want a better implementation of the current EU directive on family reunification, a legislative act that will allow immigrants to bring their families to Europe.

The charity said the goal of the directive is to promote immigrants’ family life in the EU and urged guarantees of equal treatment and “non-discrimination” of non-EU nationals and their family members, specifically within “the labor market, education and training.”