The number of international migrants is greater today than at any other time in history. While migration may present a chance to improve some life circumstances, it also poses a series of risks for migrants, particularly irregular migrants. The focus of our proposed study is to examine the various pastoral challenges and responses (realized and possible) of the Catholic Church to the experiences and needs of irregular migrants and their families in countries of origin, transit, and destination, along the various phases of the migratory arc, which include pre-immigration, transit, resettlement, and return to country of origin. Through qualitative interviews and focus groups in Mexico and the U.S., this study will address three major questions:
1) What are the varied pastoral needs of migrants & their families at different points in the migratory trajectory?
2) What are the pastoral challenges and responses (realized and desired) of Catholic faith inspired actors and organizations in communities or origin, transit, destination, and return?
3) How do/can various Catholic faith inspired actors (e.g. clergy, religious, pastoral agents, parishioners) and organizations (e.g. parishes, migrant service and ministry organizations, and universities) work together across borders and the migratory arc to advance a coordinated pastoral/practical theology?