Author Archives: Tatiana Villa

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 242

ICYMI – Can You Help? We have an immediate need for volunteers to work with immigrants in all areas of metro Atlanta and North Georgia. If you are Safe Environment approved and available to drive someone to an ICE check-in or court date, please email Kat Doyle at kdoyle@archatl.com as soon as possible. We expect this to be an ongoing need. If you are interested in helping and are not Safe Environment approved, please contact Kat Doyle to begin the process.

Justice for Immigrants Conference. If you want current information and resources on immigration and networking, consider attending the JFI Conference in Arlington, Virginia on December 5-7, 2018.

Be Unafraid. We all have fears to face. Read stories of courageous refugees who fled their homes and now share their journeys.

What is the Status of DACA? The federal district judge who ordered the administration to begin accepting new DACA registrations has modified the earlier order to only require processing of renewal applications. Keep in touch with your qualified immigration legal adviser so you can take the best actions.

ICYMI – What Are the Alternatives to Immigration Detention? Learn more by viewing a recent webinar from Justice For Immigrants.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 241

Can You Help? We have an immediate need for volunteers to work with immigrants in all areas of metro Atlanta and North Georgia. If you are Safe Environment approved and are willing and available to drive someone to an ICE check-in or court date, please email Kat Doyle at kdoyle@archatl.com as soon as possible. We expect this to be an ongoing need. If you are interested in helping and are not Safe Environment approved, please contact Kat Doyle to begin the process.

Family Separation is Still an Issue. Families are still separated as a result of the Administration’s “Zero Tolerance” policy. Justice for Immigrants has updated its website with additional background information and recommendations for parishes and advocacy groups.

What Are the Alternatives to Immigration Detention? Learn more by viewing a recent webinar from Justice for Immigrants.

Possible Changes to Legal Immigration System. The Administration is considering changes to the immigration system that would affect legal public residents (green card holders) who want to seek citizenship. Anyone considering citizenship should consult an immigration attorney as soon as possible to see if they are affected.

DHS May Be Required to Accept New DACA Applications. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may be required to restart accepting and reviewing new DACA applications. A federal court in the District of Columbia ruled that DHS did not properly repeal regulations related to DACA and that the program should be reinstated for new applicants. The change will not be effective until late August unless a court of appeals intervenes.

Changes to Asylum Standards. The Administration has issued new standards to determine whether an asylee can stay in the United States. If the proposal goes into effect, an individual seeking asylum because of domestic violence would be unable to obtain it. Only government endorsed violence would be eligible for asylum.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 240

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Finds “Sanctuary Cities” Policy Unconstitutional. The Administration is attempting to restrict or eliminate benefits to local governments that do not sufficiently cooperate with Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers. Similar policies are being discussed in the Georgia gubernatorial election. While a federal court of appeals ruled that this federal policy is unconstitutional, it does not assure that a Georgia court would rule the same way.

Church Offers Respite to Migrants in McAllen, Texas. Sister Norma Pimentel, a member of the Missionaries of Jesus and executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, created a place of respite and care for migrants crossing the southern border in McAllen, Texas. Her ministry has been recognized publicly by Pope Francis during his visit to the United States, Notre Dame University and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Interfaith Procession in El Paso, Texas. Interfaith leaders, alongside El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz and other Catholic bishops, led a 900-strong procession through downtown El Paso on July 20 that ended with a candlelight vigil for the plight of migrants and refugees. Across the Rio Grande border from Juarez, Mexico, El Paso has reached out to migrants passing through the city.

ICYMI — Why Would Parents Leave Their Children Behind in Another Country? Allegedly, parents seeking asylum in the United States, but nonetheless deported, have agreed to leave their children in the United States. However, a recent report shows that the government frequently does not ask questions, but just deports. The government’s lack of knowledge makes it even more difficult to reunite parents and children. Catholic social teaching wisely advocates keeping families united, as it is the building block of society.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 239

Immigration Remains a Priority Issue for Catholic Bishops. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) continues to focus on the well-being of migrants. Read a summary of their activity over the last eighteen months as well as some expectations for the next few months.

Can the U.S Government Take Away Naturalized Citizenship? Yes, in some instances the government can takes away naturalized citizenship. The administration is currently researching past applications for fraudulent statements. As always, if approached by government officials, it is important to get a qualified immigration attorney.

Why Would Parents Leave Their Children Behind in Another Country? Allegedly, parents seeking asylum in the United States, but nonetheless deported, have agreed to leave their children in the United States. However, a recent report shows that the government frequently does not ask questions, but just deports. The government’s lack of knowledge makes it even more difficult to reunite parents and children. Catholic social teaching wisely advocates keeping families united, as it is the building block of society.

In-Depth Analysis. Want to take a deep dive into immigration issues? Migration Policy Institute has done a detailed study of changes in immigration policy since the beginning of the Trump administration.

ICYMI — Learn More About “For Profit” Detention Centers. Many immigration detention centers are run by “for profit” companies under contract with the federal government. For more information about generated problems, sign up for a webinar from the Justice for Immigrants Campaign. There are alternatives and cost savings. For example, the detention facility in Lumpkin County, Georgia is a “for profit” facility that announced an expansion to accommodate more beds.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 238

Comprehensive Immigration Reform? For years, advocates sought “comprehensive” immigration reform. Now, discussion seems to revolve around pieces such as walls, asylum, families, funding and deportation. There is no longer a focus on the broken system. Experts from the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Migration and Refugee Services and others renew the arguments for comprehensive reform even though the federal government cannot pass any real legislation.

Learn More About “For Profit” Detention Centers. Many immigration detention centers are run by “for profit” companies under contract with the federal government. For more information about generated problems, sign up for a webinar from the Justice for Immigrants Campaign. There are alternatives and cost savings. For example, the detention facility in Lumpkin County, Georgia is a “for profit” facility that announced an expansion to accommodate more beds.

United Nations Compact on Migration. The United Nations has adopted an international compact on the treatment of migrants around the world. The official representative of the Holy See to the UN has expressed hope that this compact will lead nations to greater respect for the dignity of all people. According to the Vatican representative, “Pope Francis encapsulates these shared responsibilities and solidarity in four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate.” Of course, compacts and resolutions are one thing, effectiveness on the ground is something different. Hence, we continue to pray and serve where we can.

Reasons for Failing to Appear in Court. Failing to appear in court for an asylum hearing can have a devastating effect on an applicant – an order of deportation. Yet, the reasons for not appearing in court result from inefficiencies and defects in the judicial system, not neglect or lack of concern. Click here to read more.

 

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 237

More on Bishops at the Border. Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, Pennsylvania, was among the bishops who journeyed to Brownsville, Texas last week to visit those in detention. Read his reflection, culminating with the statement, “Yes, we want to protect our country. I want to protect it too, but I don’t ever want this country to lose what has made it so great and wonderful: that it has shown compassion to so many people.”

It Is Not Just Talk. Catholic organizations have pleaded on behalf of children separated at the border and reached out to reunite families. The family is the basis of Catholic social teaching.

Migration and Human Trafficking Are Related. Refugees fleeing dangerous conditions in their home country are vulnerable to human trafficking. Undocumented people who are afraid to contact law enforcement are equally defenseless. Learn what the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is doing about human trafficking and the SHEPHERD program.

Asylum Seekers at the Border Have the Right to Personal Case Review.  Contrary to administration arguments, those seeking asylum in the United States have a right to individual cases reviews and a right to be freed pending resolution, according to a federal case ruling. Representatives of the USCCB have applauded the ruling.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 236

Bishops at the Border. Led by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, a delegation of bishops visited Brownsville, Texas and Mexico to see and report on migrants crossing the border. The bishops called for urgent reunification of families, but said there were no villains in his difficult situation.

In a press conference afterwards, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville said, “I want to emphasize that we can be a nation of laws and still be a nation of compassion. That is what we, as a church need to keep saying in the public square. There is no reason why those have to be opposed.” The bishops emphasized that it is not just a border issue but a hemispheric reality that calls for greater understanding of what is forcing people to leave their homes and move. For pictures, view the Justice for Immigrants Twitter account.

Clarkston on Today. The Today Show reported on the diversity in Clarkston, Georgia – home to many cultures. Catholic Charities Atlanta, among others have worked to resettle refugees in the town with southern hospitality.

Pope Francis On Migration and Lampedusa. Meditating on the words of the Prophet Amos, Pope Francis lamented the many poor who are “victims of that culture of waste that has been denounced time and time again,” including “migrants and refugees who continue to knock at the door of nations that enjoy greater prosperity.”

The Holy Father also commemorated his first journey outside of the Vatican after becoming pope when he visited Lampedusa, Italy, to express his solidarity with migrating peoples, a continuing theme of his papacy.

ICYMI- Archbishop Gregory’s Statement on Immigration Policy. On June 29, Archbishop Gregory issued a statement related to the crisis of families separated at the U.S./Mexico border. The unnecessary separation of children from parents and the detention of children is contrary to our values rooted in Catholic social teaching.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 235

Archbishop Gregory Issues Statement Responding to Families Separated at the Border. On June 29, Archbishop Gregory issued a statement related to the crisis of families separated at the U.S. / Mexico border. The unnecessary separation of children from parents and the detention of children is contrary to our values rooted in Catholic social teaching.

Family Separation at the Border. There is continuing concern for families and children detained at the border. A delegation of bishops is going to the border on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and will likely send a report within the next week.

Why Do People Risk Their Lives to Come to the United States? Click here for an important answer to this common question.

Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the lawfulness of the administration’s ban on immigrants and others coming from certain Muslim countries. Catholic bishops and others groups have expressed their disappointment with the ruling as it conflicts with freedom of religion.

ICYMI – Resources on Family Separation. For background and resources on family detention and separation, visit the Justice for Immigrants website.

Immigration Reform Legislation. Again, on June 27, the House of Representatives failed to pass a “compromise” bill on immigration. The bill would have provided some relief to DACA recipients, but would also have authorized $25 million for a wall on the southern border. USCCB had opposed the bill as an insufficient solution to the problem. There will likely be no other attempt at immigration legislation until the fall.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 234

Family Separation at the Border. The President defused some of the rage over the administration’s implementation of a policy separating children from parents at the southern border, but issues remain. Religious leaders from many faiths, including Pope Francis, spoke out against the policy. Significant questions regarding the policy changes remain, particularly regarding the fate of children already in detention and the possibility of extended family detention.

Immigration Reform Legislation. Congress has again tried to adopt some form of immigration reform legislation, but based on the analysis by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, neither of the bills considered by the House of Representatives on June 21 were adequate to address the problems. One bill was defeated on the House floor and the second postponed until this week.

 

 

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 233

ICYMI – Considering Citizenship? Are you thinking of filing paperwork to become a US citizen or know someone who is? The Atlanta New Americans Campaign is holding FREE citizenship clinics at THREE different locations throughout the Atlanta Metro Area on Saturday, June 23! Click here for more information and registration.

Separating Families at the Border – Catholic Bishops Take a Strong Stand. While the Administration continues separating parents and children seeking asylum in the United States, Catholic bishops, individually and collectively, at their General Assembly meeting in Fort Lauderdale spoke against such policies.

The bishops spent considerable time discussing immigration policy in general, but the separation of children from parents is outrageous. It would be difficult to collect all the individual statements, but several suffice from the bishops whose dioceses are the most impacted. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and archbishop of Galveston-Houston spoke to the issue in his opening address. Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso and the diocesan commission on migration issued a statement highlighting the evils derived from the separation policy. Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston denounced use of children as pawns in political negotiations.

Domestic Violence and Fear of Gang Violence is No Longer Sufficient for Asylum. Attorney General Sessions recently changed a longstanding policy – domestic and gang violence no longer qualifies an asylum seeker. Click here to read more. Cardinal DiNardo, president of the USCCB, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego and others have denounced this change. Read more from America Magazine and Twitter. Catholic Legal Immigration Network and other faith-based groups also expressed their opposition.