National Migration Conference. Even though comprehensive immigration reform appears stalled in Congress, several representatives of the Georgia Catholic Conference, the Archdiocese of Atlanta and Catholic Charities Atlanta journeyed to Washington, DC, participated with over 850 others from Catholic charities offices and dioceses across the country in studying the many issues that surround migrating people as well as in meeting with some of our own Georgia legislators to discuss immigration reform, the needs of unaccompanied minor children, human trafficking . Participants recorded a total of over 250 meetings with congressional staff during the conference.
Immigration Update Gathering – South, Central and North. Kat Doyle, Director of Justice and Peace Ministries and Frank Mulcahy, Executive Director of the Georgia Catholic Conference, spoke at three parishes about the most recent information they received while attending the National Migration Conference last week. If other parishes would like to sponsor an update for immigration committees in their area, please contact Kat Doyle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Encountering Immigrants, Rejecting the Throwaway Culture. Pope Francis continues to speak as a pastor on the needs of migrating people in Mexico and Central and South America and throughout the world. Last week, he wrote to the Mexico Holy / See Colloquium meeting in Mexico about the fundamental approach to all people. “A change of attitude towards migrants and refugees is needed on the part of everyone, moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization – all typical of the throw away culture – towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture of capable of building as better, more just and fraternal world.” (Quoting his own statement from the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.)
Unaccompanied Minor Children at the Southern Border. The Catholic bishops of the United States continue their advocacy for the wellbeing of all children, regardless of origin. The bishops’ conferences from the United States, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras jointly exhorted parents to not expose their children to the dangerous journey while also asking all governments in the region to assume responsibility for development in poorer countries where poverty and gang violence is spreading. In the face of dramatically increasing numbers of children traveling without parents or guardians, the bishops of the United States ask our government for continued protection of civil rights for these children as well as appropriations to care for children and families while their rights are fairly considered. The bishops ask the government to direct funding toward family oriented housing, not more family detention centers (i.e. family jails) as well as child care centers, post release services, proper legal representation for all children and assistance for sending countries for anti-violence and anti-poverty programs.
Federal Legislation. Important as is the plight of the many unaccompanied children at our doorsteps, our nation still needs comprehensive immigration in line with the principles that the bishops have long advocated. Review our principles for reform at the Justice for Immigrants website and then request that your House of Representatives members bring an immigration reform bill for a vote as soon as possible. The most convenient way to contact legislators is through the Catholic bishops’ Justice for Immigrants website http://justiceforimmigrants.org/index.shtml.
Next Immigration Report. Since I will be attending an out of state conference, there will not be another CIR report until the August 4 Communiqué.
I can provide additional information on request.