Saturday, February 26, 2005
Our own Amy Uelmen as director of Fordham's Institute on Religion, Law, and Lawyer's Work organized a terrific conference titled "Immigration Law & Policy in Light of Religious Values. At the conference, which took place yesterday, Michele Pistone continued to develop her work on the benefits to sending countries of what has traditionally been known as "brain drain." Although the CST recognizes a right to emigrate, it has also discouraged emigration of highly skilled workers from developing countries on the assumption that these highly skilled workers can best contribute to the development of their countries by staying put. Michele challenges this assumption, suggesting (backed with data) that emigration of highly skilled workers (what she calls STEP OUT migration) actually can aid in the development of the sending country.
Michele's project is important, I think, on two levels. First, if CST's teaching on brain drain/step out migration is based on faulty assumptions, it ought to be corrected to reflect the actual effect of such migration. Second, Vatican II expressly acknowledges the sphere of lay experts in working within CST. Much of this work will be directed outward by engaging the world in a prudential manner with this rich tradition. But, as Michele suggests, some of this work will be to inform the church of the economic, sociological, and legal realities, correcting false assumptions if need be. Any comments? Michele, do you want to add anything?