Bishops Support BRIDGE Act Proposal. On behalf of the Catholic Bishops of the United States, Bishop Joe Vasquez, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, asked members of Congress to support the BRIDGE Act, which would provide temporary relief similar to that provided by DACA.
In-State Tuition for Georgia DACA Students. A Superior Court Judge in Fulton County has ruled that students who are “legally present” in the United States by virtue of DACA may be assessed in-state tuition only in Georgia public colleges and universities http://ht.ly/Z6UU307GVuY. While this ruling could save students thousands of dollars, it is less significant with the possibility that the DACA program will be discontinued under the Trump administration.
Georgia General Assembly Convenes. The Georgia General Assembly began its 2017 legislative session on January 9. While immigration is primarily a federal issue, Georgia legislators will seek to increase restrictions on immigrants, refugees and other foreign nationals. http://www.myajc.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/georgia-lawmakers-readying-raft-tough-bills-immigrants-refugees/JOTJhhuKFhnY2npRkdt4iN/?ecmp=newspaper_email&user-access=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJpYXQiOjE0ODM2NTAwMDEsImV4cCI6MTQ4Mzc2NTE5OSwicHJvZHVjdHMiOlt7InBpZCI6Ind3dy5teWFqYy5jb20iLCJleHAiOjE0ODM3NjUxOTksImF1dGhlbiI6ImJ5cGFzcyJ9XX0.DYzOPy_oZ2qBkPpC6gTMnzal0U64AqGaTkpPb9w0_pQ&uuid=CA42305D-4292-49C5-AB9A-829AC42ED786
ICYMI – Resources for Workers and Students. While we wait to see what changes may emerge in immigration law in the coming year, there are resources available to help immigrants know their rights. See CLINIC publications explaining rights for students https://cliniclegal.org/resources/know-your-rights-students and workers https://cliniclegal.org/resources/know-your-rights-workers.
ICYMI – National Migration Week Is Coming. National Migration Week is January 8 – 14, 2017. Please use this USCCB Justice for Immigrants toolkit in your parishes and other communities. http://justiceforimmigrants.org/2016site/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/NMW-2017-Toolkit.pdf
Let us Join Together in Prayer for a Safe and Happy New Year!
Resources for Workers and Students. While we wait to see what changes may emerge in immigration law in the coming year, there are resources available to help immigrants know their rights. See CLINIC publications explaining rights for students https://cliniclegal.org/resources/know-your-rights-students and for workers https://cliniclegal.org/resources/know-your-rights-workers.
National Migration Week Is Coming. National Migration Wek will be January 8 – 14, 2017, Make us of this USCCB Justice for Immigrants toolkit in parishes and other communities http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/documents/NMW-2017-Toolkit_000.pdf.
New Immigration Facility May be Coming to Georgia. GEO, a provider of private prison services, announced that it has contracted to operate a new immigration detention center in Folkston, Georgia. The operation will be housed in an existing 780 bed facility in Folkston, Georgia. http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20161219005621/en/GEO-Group-Announces-Contract-780-Beds-Existing#.WFkA2ssbEds.email.
Breaking News – USCCB Announces New Bishops Working Group in Anticipation of Immigration Changes. The new bishops working group will look at what is being done pastorally in U.S. dioceses and will share best practices with bishops throughout the country. Details at: http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2016/usccb-forms-working-group-to-monitor-needs-of-migrants-refugees.cfm. Archbishop Jose Gomez, archbishop of Los Angeles will chair the working group. See also comments by Cardinal Blaise Cupich of Chicago. http://www.catholicnewworld.com/column/archbishop-cupich/2016/12/11/us-bishops-to-immigrants-we-stand-with-you.
“Am I not with you, I who am your mother?” This Our Lady to St. Juan Diego. Celebrating the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, bishops across the country addressed the increased concern for immigrants and refugees. “We might be poor, but we’ll never be alone,” said Bishop Mario Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington, as he reflected on the Holy Family with people in the pews. some who were likely facing similar situations. https://cnstopstories.com/2016/12/15/after-a-year-of-setbacks-uncertainty-looms-for-immigrants-in-2017/
Likewise, Bishop Stephen Blair invoked Our Lady of Guadalupe: https://togoforth.org/2016/12/12/bishop-blaire-of-stockton-issues-strong-statement-on-feast-of-our-lady-of-guadalupe/
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio spoke of the security needed for all. https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/brooklyn-bishop-pledges-support-dioceses-immigrants-against-deportations?utm_source=CLINIC+Mail&utm_campaign=e21acd62e3-CLINIC_Daily_12-12-16&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_a33179621a-e21acd62e3-279160521
ICYMI — All Students Have Rights. At a time when anti-immigrant behavior is appearing in schools (https://www.splcenter.org/20161128/trump-effect-impact-2016-presidential-election-our-nations-schools#executive), a good source of information about the rights of students is found at: https://cliniclegal.org/resources/know-your-rights-students This booklet can be shared with parents as well as school administrators.
Happy Christmas! Feliz Navidad! With family and friends over the upcoming weeks, we pray in particular for peoples around the world who are forced to flee their homes.
Prayer Reminder. December 12 is designated as a day of prayer and solidarity with families of immigrants. Throughout Advent and the New Year, a good way to pray for migrant peoples is by praying the rosary with Our Lady of Guadalupe and Families of Immigrants. http://www.usccb.org/news/2016/16-168.cfm
A Catholic Way Forward. In this time of transition, Catholic leaders consistently point forward in a way forward that serves humanity consistent with our beliefs. https://cnstopstories.com/2016/12/05/a-way-forward-on-immigration/ ; http://stcloudvisitor.org/2016/09/14/catholics-urged-reject-partisan-views-migration-heed-gospel-message/ “It’s the work of the church to be a presence and to make available a space for people to feel welcome,” said Bishop Flores of Brownsville.
All Students Have Rights. At a time when anti-immigrant behavior is appearing in schools (https://www.splcenter.org/20161128/trump-effect-impact-2016-presidential-election-our-nations-schools#executive), a good source of information about the rights of students is found at: https://cliniclegal.org/resources/know-your-rights-students This booklet can be shared with parents as well as school administrators.
Family Detention Centers. A state court judge in Austin, Texas, ruled that the state could not license detention centers as childcare facilities — a victory for common sense. This decision impacts two federal immigration detention centers in Dilley and Karnes City, Texas, which incarcerate migrant and refugee women and children. These facilities are located within the Archdiocese of San Antonio. Their archbishop reacted with approval, but was dismayed when the state appealed the decision. See more at: https://www.archsa.org/news/statement-of-archbishop-gustavo-garcia-siller-msps-on-state-district-judge#sthash.GbvmnhZ4.dpuf. CLINIC and other immigration advocates have opposed these prisons while seeking to help those detained receive fair treatmen
Breaking News from the USCCB. On December 1, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops announced that the feast of Our Lady Of Guadalupe, December 12, would be commemorated as a Day Of Prayer And Solidarity With Families Of Immigrants. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said: “To all those families separated and far from home in uncertain times, we join with you in a prayer for comfort and joy this Advent season” http://www.usccb.org/news/2016/16-168.cfm.The announcement made reference to the Scriptural Rosary reflecting on aspects of the mysteries related to migrating peoples http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/documents/Scriptural-Rosary-Eng.pdf.
DACA Students in Colleges and Universities. It is no secret that there is a high likelihood that the Trump Administration will end the DACA program for young people brought into the United States at an early age although the terms of ending the program are still uncertain. Nonetheless, the leadership of Catholic colleges and universities have announced their intention to protect their students to the greatest extent possible https://cnstopstories.com/2016/11/30/catholic-college-presidents-pledge-support-for-students-with-daca-status/. Emory University in Atlanta has announced that it is becoming a “sanctuary university” even though it could be punished by the lass of Georgia state funding. http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2016/11/29/emory-could-lose-state-funding-if-it-declares-a-sanctuary-campus-to-shield-immigrants/
Alternatives to DACA. Over 700,000 individuals have taken advantage of the DACA program since its inception but the program had a fundamental weakness in that it was instituted by executive order, not a Congressional statute. In light of the possibility that President-elect Trump will do away with DACA when he takes office, several senators are considering legislation to shield children living in the country illegally from being deported if they grew up in the United States and have stayed out of trouble. http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/308380-senators-crafting-legislation-to-limit-deportations-under-trump
Pope Francis Decries the Animosity Toward Immigrant Peoples. Pope Francis continues to support migrating people and refugees by decrying the negative positions of people who reject them http://www.reuters.com/article/us-pope-cardinals-idUSKBN13E0HE.
Archbishop Gomez Also Speaks Out in His Quiet Way. Archbishop Jose Gomez, archbishop of Los Angeles and newly elected vice president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, was recently profiled in the Los Angeles Times as he asked for prayer to fix the broken immigration system before people were hurt by needless deportations. “Not politics. It’s about people.” http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-archbishop-gomez-trump-20161122-story.html
Justice for Immigrants Campaign. The USCCB Justice for Immigrants has also published materials to help parishes and religious communities in talking about immigration under the new Administration in light of the fears among parishioners. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-archbishop-gomez-trump-20161122-story.html
ICYMI — What Can Be Done To Prepare? Exactly what the new administration will do or how quickly it will act is uncertain. CLINIC has published information for addressing issues that will be raised with the new administration. https://cliniclegal.org/presidentialtransition These issues are continuously developing as information comes from the new administration even though it is likely that definitive information will not be available until after January 20, 2017. Remember that no matter who is president, all persons have rights that a president cannot just eliminate. Review your rights. https://www.nilc.org/issues/immigration-enforcement/everyone-has-certain-basic-rights/
Election and New Administration. The bishops of the United States’ meeting in Baltimore last week adopted a strong statement of support for immigrants. http://usccb.org/news/2016/16-158.cfm See also: http://catholicregister.org/home/international/item/23586-as-trump-talks-deportation-bishop-sends-message-on-immigrants-dignity. In addition to a new president of the USCCB, Cardinal Daniel Di Nardo of Houston-Galveston, the bishops also elected Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, as their first Hispanic vice president. https://cnstopstories.com/2016/11/16/archbishop-gomez-brings-latino-voice-to-new-leadership-role/
What Can Be Done To Prepare? Exactly what the new administration will do or how quickly it will act is uncertain. CLINIC has published information for addressing issues that will be raised with the new administration https://cliniclegal.org/presidentialtransition. These issues are continuously developing as information comes from the new administration, even though it is likely that definitive information will not be available until after January 20, 2017. Remember that no matter who is president, all persons have rights that a president cannot just eliminate. Be sure to review your rights. https://www.nilc.org/issues/immigration-enforcement/everyone-has-certain-basic-rights/
DACA. Many observers believe that the new administration will end DACA registrations. Nonetheless, here are some of the benefits to individuals and the country from the DACA program. https://twitter.com/hashtag/WithDACA?src=hash
Pope Francis on Video. Pope Francis addressed the bishops at their Baltimore meeting by video. The Holy Father gave particular recognition and support to the Fifth National Hispanic Pastoral Encuentro, which will occur in 2017. http://usccb.org/about/leadership/usccb-general-assembly/2016-november-meeting/message-of-his-holiness-pope-francis-for-the-v-encuentro.cfm
Deportations? As the time for the new administration approaches, concerns grow about the possibility that there will be deportation of large numbers of undocumented migrants. Do not underestimate the risk from the new administration, but mass deportation will not be easily accomplished. See an analysis from NBC News. http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/four-roadblocks-to-trumps-unprecedented-deportation-plan/ar-AAklM0l?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=iehp
Election and New Administration. The Trump administration does not take office until January 20, 2017 but those concerned with immigrants cannot ignore the changes that President-Elect Trump has promised with respect to immigrants and refugees. Immigration experts, such as those at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, sponsored by the bishops of the United States, are giving careful consideration to the effects of the election and will be developing plans to help individuals and families as exact policies emerge. In the meantime, those working with immigrants and refugees should proceed with caution so as not to create unwarranted alarm but recognizing the need to begin planning for whatever dramatic changes come. We will keep you apprised of the this developing situation over the next months.
ICYMI – TEXT4Refugees – Citizenship Information for Refugees and Asylees. CLINIC is providing a new service. Refugees, asylees and anyone interested in learning more about citizenship will benefit from CLINIC’s monthly text messages about the citizenship application process. See more information at: https://cliniclegal.org/citizenshipnavigator/texting
Pope Francis. In an interview during the past week, Pope Francis expressed his concern for the plight of immigrants and refugees. Mindful of the election in the United States, the Holy Father emphasized that the Church does not judge individual politicians but the policies that affect the poor and marginalized. http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/11/11/popes_concern_for_immigrants_in_la_repubblica_interview/1271490
Are You Eligible for Naturalization? If you want free assistance in seeking naturalized citizenship, plan on attending the naturalization drive sponsored by the Latin American Association and Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta in collaboration with the New Americans Campaign partners, New American Pathways, IRC, GALEO, CPACS and Catholic Charities Atlanta. Location: Latin American Association, 2750 Buford Highway, Atlanta, GA 30324. Date and Time: Saturday, November 12th, 2016 at 9:00am. More information at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdpty0o4pY4A4KuvqG0GsRouxO9Uuc16rFuwXhfWm4l146VRg/viewform?c=0&w=1
TEXT4Refugees – Citizenship Information for Refugees and Asylees. CLINIC is providing a new service. Refugees, asylees and anyone interested in learning more about citizenship will benefit from CLINIC’s monthly text messages about the citizenship application process. See more information at: https://cliniclegal.org/citizenshipnavigator/texting
Deportation of Haitian Refugees. CLINIC and its Catholic partners recently commended the Department of Homeland Security for temporarily halting deportations to Haiti after Hurricane Matthew but have also recommended steps to better address the needs of Haitians seeking protection from the humanitarian crisis. See more information about Haitian refugees at: https://cliniclegal.org/news/clinic-joins-catholic-partners-call-protect-haitians-after-hurricane-matthew
DACA Renewals. DACA registrations need to be renewed and it is extremely important to file early. The Department of Homeland Security’s process is backed up and some registrations are expiring before renewal is complete. http://ht.ly/Ut35305K5eQ CLINIC has tips for those caught in the process. https://cliniclegal.org/resources/articles-clinic/daca-processing-delays-and-tips-escalating-cases
November 8 is Election Day! If you have not voted yet, study the impact of the Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Children Fund (Constitutional amendment 2 on the Georgia ballot.) See information at SafeHarborYes.com.
ICYMI – Archdiocese of Atlanta Produces Faithful Citizenship Videos with Local Focus. Look at the Archdiocese of Atlanta website for the new videos encouraging conscientious voting. http://archatl.com/catholic-life/faithful-citizenship/ In particular, look at Archbishop Gregory’s introduction and the video on immigrants and refugees presented by Vanessa Russell, CEO of Catholic Charities Atlanta.
ICYMI – Vote “Yes” for Safe Harbor! The Georgia election ballot will contain a proposed constitutional amendment to secure funding for rehabilitative services for minors who have been trapped in human trafficking for sex. Traffickers prey on vulnerable youths, including those in migrant families without papers. See more about this important constitutional amendment and consider supporting rehabilitation services in the year of mercy and beyond. http://www.safeharboryes.com/
Papal Nuncio Celebrates Mass in Support of Immigration Reform. On October 23, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, was the principal celebrant at a Mass celebrated on both sides of the U.S. – Mexican border to show the Church’s support for immigration reform https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2016/10/23/border-mass-popes-u-s-envoy-backs-immigration-reform/.
Cardinal-designate Tobin Speaks in Support of Resettling Refugees. Recently appointed Cardinal Joseph Tobin, Archbishop of Indianapolis, spoke at Notre Dame University in support of resettling refugees from Syria, including families sponsored by Catholic Charities of Indianapolis despite the opposition of Governor Mike Pence. With regard to one family, the Archbishop said: “(Governor) Pence,” invited “me to pray and seek God’s guidance, which I gladly did.” The family was then welcomed by the diocese and Catholic Charities, and is now living in Indianapolis http://www.todayscatholicnews.org/2016/10/cardinal-designate-tobin-urges-americans-to-welcome-refugees/.