Author Archives: Daniela Moreno

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Update 106

Migration and the Apostolic Journey of Pope Francis. It would be difficult to catalogue the many references and aspects of migrating peoples during the Holy Father’s visit to the United States over the past week. The next weeks will require us to reflect on the teaching of the Pope as it affects immigration in the United States. Before Independence Hall in Philadelphia the Pope repeatedly emphasized the necessity of basing religious freedom and respect for the cultures of all people on the inherent dignity of the human person. In addressing Congress, Pope Francis referred to Moses as an example of the role legislators must embody in protecting, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face. The pope asked Congress to look beyond the number of migrants to ”view [immigrants] as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal.”

If you are inspired by Pope Francis, what can you do? One place to find ways to help is to prayerfully consider attending the important Justice for Immigrants / USCCB conference entitled: Moving Forward: Immigration in 2016 and Beyond in Chicago on November 11 – 13, 2015. http://justiceforimmigrants.org/documents/Conference-flyer-2.pdf

 

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Update 105

Pope Francis will be the big news over the next week as he visits Cuba, Washington, New York and Philadelphia. According to the Vatican Secretary of State (and many others), care for immigrants will be major and recurring theme during the visit http://catholicphilly.com/2015/09/news/world-news/migration-freedom-ecology-to-be-topics-on-pope-trip-cardinal-says/. The Holy Father cares for all immigrants and has called on the world to help Syrians and Iraqis http://catholicphilly.com/2015/09/news/world-news/no-one-can-pretend-not-to-know-syrians-iraqis-are-suffering-pope-says/. Catholic advocates hope and pray that the Pope will speak on behalf of the dignity of all people http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/09/09/us/ap-us-rel-pope-latino-boom.html?_r=1.

What are they saying about Latino Catholics in Georgia? The growth of Latino Catholics in Georgia is getting wide attention, particularly as the Pope visits. Look at this article from the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/09/09/us/ap-us-rel-pope-latino-boom.html?_r=1.

Citizenship. In parishes, it is important to recognize those who are eligible for naturalization right now and to encourage them. Listen to a naturalized citizen born in Chile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBMV1A94Qd8.

ICYMI – Archbishop Gregory again speaks out on immigration. In an interview on WABE radio’s “Closer Look,” Archbishop Gregory expressed his support for the immigrant community and condemned the “vile [political] language and proposals that strike at the very heart of what it means to be an American.” http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2015/09/11/atlanta-archbishop-condemns-vile-language-of-immigration-debate/ .

 

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Update 104

Archbishop Gregory again speaks out on immigration. In an interview on WABE radio’s “Closer Look,” Archbishop Gregory expressed his support for the immigrant community and condemned the “vile [political] language and proposals that strike at the very heart of what it means to be an American.” http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2015/09/11/atlanta-archbishop-condemns-vile-language-of-immigration-debate/

Look for Facts, Not Rhetoric. The political rhetoric continues from presidential candidates and some local politicians are using similar hyperbole but more objective reporters expose myths about real immigrants living in the United States and in Georgia. http://www.forbes.com/sites/doliaestevez/2015/09/03/debunking-donald-trumps-five-extreme-statements-about-immigrants-and-mexico

Pope Francis will be in the United States from September 22 to 27. Expect him to talk about the need for justice for immigrants on more than a few occasions. See a thoughtful analysis of what the Holy Father might say in an article by Donald Kerwin, Executive Director of the Center for Migration Studies http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donald-kerwin/what-pope-francis-has-sai_b_8090332.html. In a one hour special edition of ABC News 20/20 which aired on September 4, Pope Francis singled out Sister Norma Pimental for her ministry to immigrants in McAllen Texas. http://globalsistersreport.org/news/migration/pope-francis%E2%80%99-surprise-call-thanks-sister-immigration-ministry-30351

Refugees from Syria and elsewhere. While we continue advocacy for reform in the United States, we recognize the Holy Father’s concern for refugees throughout the world, especially those from Syria http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2015/pope-calls-on-parishes-and-religious-houses-to-take-in-refugees.cfm. Likewise, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the USCCB, has spoken on behalf of all bishops in the United States called on all Catholics and others of good will to welcome refugees from Syria and elsewhere http://www.usccb.org/news/2015/15-127.cfm. Joining other religious leaders, the USCCB has called for dramatic increases in the number of refugees permitted to enter the U.S. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/refugee-organizations-syrians-us_55ef4f47e4b03784e276f8b1.

 

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Update 103

Catholic Bishops Continue to Speak Out on Immigration. Even in the face of Congress’ failure to act and the comments against immigrants by some who want to assume leadership in our country, Catholic bishops continue to speak out in support of immigration reform as affecting families. See the recent speech by Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap, Archbishop of Philadelphia http://catholicphilly.com/2015/09/think-tank/homilies-speeches/sanity-indifference-and-the-american-immigration-debate/.

September 17 – Citizenship Day. As presidents have done since 1952 and as is proclaimed by federal law, September 17 is “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day” in order to recognize the importance of immigrants to the United States. If you would like to celebrate citizenship and encourage those who are eligible to seek citizenship, take a look at the Media and Public Relations Kit prepared by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC): https://cliniclegal.org/citizenshipweek/mediatoolkit?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ClinicResourcesFeed+%28CLINIC+Resources+Feed%29.

How Do We Reach Out and Connect? There are many ways to reach young people and soccer is one way. Read about a group of immigrants who play soccer and are going to meet Pope Francis http://ht.ly/RBBQ6. There are asylum seekers around the world and soccer is a way to bring people together. In Germany, a soccer club has reached out with money and facilities http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/sep/03/bayern-munich-donate-migrants.

ICYMI – Immigration Reform Must Still Move Forward. What can you do? Prayerfully consider attending the important Justice for Immigrants / USCCB conference entitled: Moving Forward: Immigration in 2016 and Beyond in Chicago on November 11 – 13, 2015 http://justiceforimmigrants.org/documents/Conference-flyer-2.pdf.

 

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Update 102

Family Detention Litigation. The Federal District Court of Central California ordered the release of immigrant children from the current family detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania “without unnecessary delay”. The order sets October 23, 2015 as the compliance deadline, stating that immigrant children may not be detained in secure unlicensed detention facilities but instead must be released to family members, preferably a parent, including their detained parent. The Administration continues to oppose the order so that it can continue to detain these children. Read more at: http://ht.ly/RjkqT.

Pope Francis is Coming Next Month. And he will speak out on immigration even though his message will not be pleasing to some. It will be fascinating to watch but, more importantly, pray that it effects change in the deadlocked Congress http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2015/08/25/pope-congress-immigration/32274119/. Francis will embrace the immigrant Church in America http://www.newsday.com/news/new-york/pope-francis-visit/pope-francis-embracing-immigrant-church-in-visit-1.10763566.

Where will Francis sit? Pope Francis prefers things simple. Hence, a group of immigrant laborers have been retained to build a simple chair for the Pope’s Mass at Madison Square Garden in New York http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/19/opinion/building-a-chair-simple-enough-for-a-pope.html?_r=1. For Mass in Philadelphia, inmates and staff from the Philadelphia prison system are building the chair http://catholicphilly.com/2015/08/news/wmf2015/prisoners-make-chair-pope-francis-will-use-in-visit/.

Immigration Reform Must Still Move Forward. What can you do? Prayerfully consider attending the important Justice for Immigrants / USCCB conference entitled: Moving Forward: Immigration in 2016 and Beyond in Chicago on November 11 – 13, 2015 http://justiceforimmigrants.org/documents/Conference-flyer-2.pdf.

 

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Update 101

Migrants and refugees challenge us. The response of the Gospel of mercy.” This is the theme chosen by Pope Francis for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees which will be celebrated on January 17, 2016. More information will be forthcoming http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2015/remember-works-of-mercy-on-world-migrant-day-2016.cfm.

Migrants Are Important to Pope Francis. It is safe to say that Pope Francis will speak on behalf of migrating peoples during his visit to the United States and most probably when he speaks at Independence Square in Philadelphia. See why migrants touch his heart in a personal way http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150817_Pope_Francis__personal_charge.html.

DACA Update at 3! The Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA) is now three years old. Between August 2012 and March 2015, 794,501 applications for initial DACA were filed and 664,607 were approved. Between June 2014 and March 2015, 381,188 applications for DACA renewal were filed and 243,872 were approved. Take a look at additional information about its progress at the website of the National Immigration Law Center http://www.nilc.org/dacaisthree.html.

How Many Favor A Path to Citizenship? Despite political posturing, a clear majority of Americans recognize and support a path to citizenship for undocumented people already in the United States http://www.ibtimes.com/immigration-reform-2015-path-citizenship-favored-65-percent-americans-2051028. Steep as our advocacy path seems at times, more and more Americans support the humanity of immigrants.

ICYMI – What Can We Do? How can we help? For both immigration legalization purposes and for a more productive life in the United States, the ability to speak English is essential. How can you get an English training program started? CLINIC is offering a seminar aimed at giving the tools and confidence to start a program. https://cliniclegal.org/calendar/training-teachers-tricks-tools-and-strategies-volunteer-based-language-learning-programs

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Update 100

Number 100! This is the one hundredth Comprehensive Immigration Update which we started to keep priests, deacons, sisters, brothers and others up to date with accurate information about the progress of immigration reform. Unfortunately, the pace of progress has not been nearly as fast as we hoped 100 editions ago. Nonetheless, we continue in hope and report on the Church’s advocacy efforts in Georgia and in Washington.

How to Help … and Maybe Learn Something Yourself. The United States Immigration Service (USCIS) provides educational materials for immigrants seeking citizenship. Here is link to a new USCIS publication on teaching about the Constitution. http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/Office%20of%20Citizenship/Citizenship%20Resource%20Center%20Site/Publications/Lesson%20Plans/Intermediate_US_Constitution_lesson_plan.pdf Share it with someone who wants to learn and prepare for citizenship.

Appeals Are Important. In the United States, we treasure our right to pursue legal remedies through every level of appeal. A decision is not final until appeals are exhausted. Yet, there have been instances of deportations before appeals are concluded and when the person deported must return to a country where his or her life is in danger, appeals are vital. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-stay-on-deportations/2015/08/02/858c6e30-37cc-11e5-9d0f-7865a67390ee_story.html

Detention Centers Remain the news. A federal district court in California has ruled that the Administration’s operation of immigration detention centers for women and children violates a court settlement and that many of the women and children should be released. Yet legal wrangling continues as the government continues appeals so that it can keep the detention centers open. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/05/opinion/a-judges-rebuke-of-immigration-detention.html?smid=tw-share

ICYMI – What Can We Do? How can we help? For both immigration legalization purposes and for a more productive life in the United States, the ability to speak English is essential. How can you get an English training program started? CLINIC is offering a seminar aimed at giving the tools and confidence to start a program. https://cliniclegal.org/calendar/training-teachers-tricks-tools-and-strategies-volunteer-based-language-learning-programs

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Update 99

Update on Litigation Related to Detention Centers. A federal district court has ruled that the Administration’s operation of immigration detention centers for women and children violates a court settlement and that many of the women and children should be released http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2015/07/29/us-advocates-applauds-court-ruling-on-immigrant-detention-centres/. The government may appeal the ruling but the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (among others) has welcomed the decision and called on the Administration to end a system which Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration called “unnecessary, inhumane, and unworthy of our nation.”   http://usccb.org/news/2015/15-115.cfm

Catholic Bishops Continue to Stand Up for the Dignity of All Immigrants. Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, responded to untrue characterization of immigrants by political candidates. http://ht.ly/QhELv Likewise, Sean Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, has called service to refugees and asylum seekers as an act of faith https://twitter.com/CardinalSean/status/610815649179373568. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco remembered a murder victim but cautioned lawmakers against using the case for political gain and against seeing all immigrants as violent criminals.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/archbishop-cordileone-to-congress-immigrants-are-not-all-guilty-by-ass/#ixzz3hPHZqbMT. Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles recognizes the whole Church as a pilgrim Church https://twitter.com/ArchbishopGomez/status/624975905933295616?s=02

What Can We Do? How can we help? For both immigration legalization purposes and for a more productive life in the United States, the ability to speak English is essential. How can you get an English training program started? CLINIC is offering a seminar aimed at giving the tools and confidence to start a program. https://cliniclegal.org/calendar/training-teachers-tricks-tools-and-strategies-volunteer-based-language-learning-programs

Can I still Apply for DACA? Find Out the Facts. Although the proposed DAPA and expanded DACA programs are still on hold, the original DACA program is available for those who qualify for the original DACA program or who want to renew their registration. Review a brief video that will help identify those who qualify and encourage them to go forward. https://cliniclegal.org/resources/video-update-daca

ICYMI -Need an Overview for the Non-Lawyer? For those interested in helping immigrants but confused by immigration law (and it is confusing!), see the rapid e-learning program offered on the CLINIC website at https://cliniclegal.org/training/self-directed The program is free, takes only 90 minutes and does not assume legal training.

 

 

 

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Update 98

Jump Start Your Parish Program.   If you want to get a parish immigration service program started, consider attending the National Convening offered by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and its Justice for Immigrants Project in Chicago on November 11-13. Take a look at the range of topics to be discussed and register to attend http://justiceforimmigrants.org/documents/Conference-flyer-2.pdf

Need an Overview for the Non-Lawyer? For those interested in helping immigrants but confused by immigration law (and it is confusing!), see the rapid e-learning program offered on the CLINIC website at https://cliniclegal.org/training/self-directed. The program is free, takes only 90 minutes and does not assume legal training.

Listen to Facts, Not Political Hyperbole. The media are picking up claims and allegations as political races heat up but do not allow yourself or your parishioners to get caught up in the hype. Look at the facts of immigration. See for example: http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/latest-columns/20150721-richard-parker-top-5-campaign-myths-on-immigration.ece. Immigrants are less likely to commit crimes. http://immigrationpolicy.org/special-reports/criminalization-immigration-united-states

What is happening in Congress? Congress is still unwilling to address immigration in any comprehensive way but the majority does try to raise enforcement issues. Some in Congress want to crack down on so-called “sanctuary cities” which they believe do not do enough to search for undocumented immigrants. Local authorities, however, work to build better relationships with all populations. http://www.politico.com/story/2015/07/sanctuary-cities-immigration-activists-possible-crackdown-120365.html

DACA Is Three Years Old. Three years ago the Administration instituted the Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA) program to help young people who were brought to the United States as children by their parents. The program remains controversial but it has allowed thousands of young people to lawfully obtain work permits and apply for increased education. See some examples: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/program-668025-deferred-action.html Keep in mind that qualified young people can still apply for DACA.

ICYMI – What Can We Do? How can we help? One essential for obtaining legalization will certainly be the ability to speak English. For any organization interested in finding ways to help immigrants now, Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) is offering a webinar to help develop volunteer ESL programs. The ability to speak English is vital to a productive life in the United States https://cliniclegal.org/calendar/training-teachers-tricks-tools-and-strategies-volunteer-based-language-learning-programs.

 

 

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Update 97

Did You Know? Atlanta has a welcoming initiative that brings together city government and community leaders to create a more welcoming and inclusive Atlanta to attract and retain diverse talent, while ensuring that all Atlantans are meaningfully included and supported by our city programs, regardless of language or country of birth. If someone you know – or a parish you know – wants information to help support immigrants, this website is a good place to start http://www.welcomingatlanta.com/.

Some Asylum Seekers Are Being Released From Detention. The Department of Homeland Security has announced that it will begin releasing from detention centers some women with credible cases of asylum. The USCCB and other organizations have been advocating for release from detention all women with children who do not show a risk to society http://www.ibtimes.com/immigration-reform-ice-scales-back-family-detention-those-showing-credible-fear-2007601.

Oral Argument on Lawfulness of Executive Action. The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on a case brought by several states (including Georgia) challenging the lawfulness of the Administration’s executive action in deferring administrative action which would support certain immigrants, known as DAPA and extended DACA. Unfortunately, many observers believe that the Court will not support the Administration’s position. Regardless of the Fifth Circuit’s decision, however, the issue will very likely go to the Supreme Court for a final decision next year http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/judicial/247862-immigration-argument-at-the-fifth-circuit. In the meantime, eligible applicants are still able to seek administrative relief or renewal under the existing DACA program.

What Can We Do? How can we help? One essential for obtaining legalization will certainly be the ability to speak English. For any organization interested in finding ways to help immigrants now, Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) is offering a webinar to help develop volunteer ESL programs. The ability to speak English is vital to a productive life in the United States   https://cliniclegal.org/calendar/training-teachers-tricks-tools-and-strategies-volunteer-based-language-learning-programs.