Pope Francis has deplored the “unacceptable conditions of exploitation” in which migrant farm workers are forced to survive, and has pushed at the same time for their legal regularisation.

– Pope “carries in his heart” the “painful situation” of illegal workers

In a message made public today to the Secretary General of the Italian Agricultural Federation (Fai Cisl), Onofrio Rota, the pontiff recalled the commitment and sacrifices of workers in the agri-food chain in the time of the coronavirus pandemic and denounced the exploitation and marginalisation of immigrant workers.

In the letter signed by the Substitute of the Vatican Secretariat of State, Edgar Peña Parra, the Pope conveted his closeness “to the numerous workers who, within the framework of the food chain, make considerable efforts, among many risks and difficulties, to provide the necessary food to the community”.

Peña Parra wrote that “the Pope remembers them in prayer, while carrying in his heart the painful situation of illegal workers from various countries, who are relegated to the margins of society and who suffer unacceptable conditions of exploitation”.

– Regularisation “to recognise the rights and duties of all workers”

The Substitute of the Vatican Secretariat of State affirmed that the Pope “shares” the Fai Cisl Federation’s call to regularise the activities of men who, today more than ever, are exposed to contamination from COVID-19 due to a lack of protective, but who still nonetheless continue to guarantee food supplies.

“The need is certainly shareable to attend to those who, deprived of dignity, feel the consequences of an integration not carried out more deliberately and are now even more exposed due to the dangers of the pandemic”, the Vatican official wrote.

“It is to be hoped, therefore”, Peña Parra concluded on behalf of the Pope, that the situation of immigrant agri-food workers “comes out into the open and is regularised, so as to recognise the rights and duties of all workers, to oppose illegality and to avert both the scourge of the caporalato [an illegal form of agricultural work at low cost] and the emergence of conflicts between disadvantaged people”.

(With information from Vatican News)

Next on Novena:

Caritas Europa joins call for regularisation of undocumented migrant workers crucial for agricultural sector

Coronavirus: Italian Church group calls for immediate regularisation of 600,000 ‘illegal’ immigrants


Progressive Catholic journalist, author and educator. Working on social justice, equality and Church renewal.