Author Archives: Tatiana Villa

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 260

Reading About Migration and Human Trafficking. A Vatican dicastery for Integral Human Development released two documents related to migration and human trafficking. “Lights on the Ways of Hope” is a collection of papal reflections on migration, refugees and trafficking, which includes Pope Francis’ speeches, homilies, audiences, prayers and documents going back to Easter 2013. “Pastoral Orientations on Human Trafficking” focuses on the reality of human trafficking and responses to the problem. Find out more online.

St. Josephine Bakhita. St. Josephine Bakhita was sold into slavery at an early age, but was later freed and served God in religious life. She died in 1947 and was canonized in 2000. Her feast day is February 8. Click here to see her icon and prayer card.

A Day to Show Love for Refugees. February 14 is more than Valentine’s Day. Mark your calendar to attend the sixth-annual New Americans Celebration sponsored by the Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies (CRSA) at the Georgia State Capitol. Speak to legislators about welcoming people from other countries. More information and registration is available online.

It Is More Than the “Wall.” The “wall” and the federal government dominate the news media, but 2019 will be a year of conflict over other aspects of immigration and migration. Read a summary of upcoming issues, many of which have been with us for a long time.

Disappointment at the Lack of Openness. Sister Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in the Diocese of Brownsville, other representatives of local agencies working with migrant people and local elected officials offered to speak with President Trump when he visited McAllen, Texas last week. Unfortunately, they were not invited to speak during the roundtable discussion. Read more from America Magazine.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 259

The Wall, Asylum and All That. It would be impossible – and, for purposes of this report, a waste of time – to summarize all the developments related to the federal government shut down and the proposed wall on the southern border. Nonetheless, there are several Catholic social issues to consider. Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin, Texas, on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), stated, “Secure borders and humane treatment of those fleeing persecution and seeking a better life are not mutually exclusive. The United States can ensure both and must do so without instilling fear or sowing hatred.” The Jesuit Office of Ecology and Justice explored myths about asylum seekers.

Humanitarian Assistance at the US / Mexican Border and the Catholic Response. What is the Catholic Church doing at the border? Find out through a webinar sponsored by Justice for Immigrants, USCCB Migration and Refugee Service and others on Wednesday, January 30. You can login online or dial in at (267) 279-9000. The passcode: 648174#.

See the Toolkit for National Slavery and Human Trafficking Month. January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Month. February 8, the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, is an annual day of prayer and awareness against human trafficking. The USCCB Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) has issued a 2019 toolkit to educate Catholics. For more information and to get involved, email MRSTraff@usccb.org. Also, please also be on the lookout for an invitation to an event celebrating St. Josephine Bakhita!

ICYMI – Remember Unaccompanied Children in Prayer. Immigrant children who are not living with their parents or other relatives need all types of support. We can all give them our prayers. This prayer can help you get started.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 258

Over Christmas and New Years, the media has focused the Administration demand for $5 billion to build a wall, but individual and family immigration issues have not gone away. Indeed, some are getting worse. Here are some of the ongoing issues.

Federal Government “Shut Down” Affects Immigration Courts. Federal immigration are hopelessly backlogged and the federal government shut down is making it worse as cases are indefinitely postponed. If you have a hearing in the near future, be sure to carefully check the schedule but do not miss a hearing!

Be Sensitive – Refugee Children Have Unique Problems.  “Being a new refugee means being in constant crisis because everything is unfamiliar. I became a refugee success story, but we need a path for others.” Read the full story from @FadiaAfashe in @USATODAY. 

Are There Resources To Help Refugee Children? The website of the Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services (BRYCS) program is designed to provide technical help in addressing the unique settlement needs of refugee children.  

Justice for Immigrants Offers Webinars – Have You Missed Them? Justice for Immigrants provides several free webinars over the course of the year. If you missed one or more, you can catch up from the JFI archives.  

Remember Unaccompanied Children in Prayer. Immigrant children who are not living with parents or even other relatives need all types of support. We can all give them our prayers. Here is a prayer starter.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 257

WorkingWith City and County Governments.Primary solutions for our broken immigration system must come from the federalgovernment. Nonetheless, for immigrants in local communities, city and countygovernments can help or hinder. Learn ways to work cooperatively with localgovernments by attending a free webinar series from the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC).

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. After our Christmas celebrations, let us prepare for prayer and activities necessary to recognize the significance of the special month. Resources are available in a toolkit from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

National Migration Week – January 6 -13, 2019. For nearly a half century, the Catholic Church in the United States has celebrated National Migration Week, an opportunity for us to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, including immigrants, refugees, children, and victims and survivors of human trafficking. Find suggestions for your participation in a toolkit prepared by USCCB.

Public Charge Proposed Rules. The US Department of Homeland Security proposed changes that would make it more difficult for lawful permanent residents to obtain citizenship if they lawfully accessed welfare benefits or would make those residents hesitant to use benefits for themselves or their children. The USCCB and Catholic Charities USA prepared detailed comments on these proposed rules and the Georgia Catholic Conference joined in, seeking withdrawal of the proposed rules. At the close of the public comment part of the rulemaking process, over 210,000 comments were submitted with the majority opposing the rule. Read the comments online.

Have a Happy and Holy Christmas! As you listen to the Christmas Gospels, keep in mind how much they refer to travel and migration and pray for our brothers and sisters who are migrating throughout the world.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 256

Thanksgiving Has Passed, But Other Celebrations Are Coming. A CLINIC affiliate in North Carolina followed a multi-cultural Thanksgiving tradition. Christmas, New Year, Hanukkah and Chinese New Year can be celebrated to include brothers and sisters from around the world in order to build a loving community.

Why Would a Methodist Pastor Join a Caravan? Gavin Rogers, a Methodist Pastor wanted to examine for himself the allegations about the caravan members. Click here for his report.

Immigrants Seeking Asylum Are Not Breaking the Law. Immigrants have the right to seek asylum under United States law. Those who deprive them of that right are the lawbreakers. Read an explanation.

Catholic Charities Attorneys Volunteer Services at the Border. Catholic Charities in Arlington, Virginia, and other locations have volunteered their time and expertise to help asylum seekers at the border. Read about their experiences.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 255

Beyond the Political Debate and News Reports, the “Caravan” are People in Need. Bishop Jorge Rodriguez, auxiliary bishop of Denver, summed up the Catholic and human approach, saying, “It pains me to see how a human tragedy of this size is used for political [means] by parties – for heartless rhetoric, for sensationalism by social mass media and even for exploitation and human trafficking, instead of working together to reach a solution.”

Catholic Leaders Speak on Behalf of Asylum Seekers. United States federal law says that migrants may seek asylum from within the U.S. or upon arrival at its borders, “whether or not at a designated port of arrival” and irrespective of their legal status. However, an interim final rule from the departments of Homeland Security and Justice and a presidential proclamation, both issued Nov. 9, bar migrants who cross the border between ports of entry from applying for asylum. Leaders of Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Legal Immigration Network (or CLINIC), Catholic Relief Services and the bishops’ conference Committee on Migration urged the administration to seek other solutions, saying the rule will “restrict and slow access to protection for hundreds of children and families fleeing violence in Central America.” See further background from CLINIC.

ICYMI – What Can One Person Do To Stop Human Trafficking? Human trafficking is all around us – what can we do? For recognizable signs and “take action” suggestions, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) website.

Her Feast Day Passed, But Her Words Remain. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini said, “In the adorable heart of Jesus, I can always find you.” Please reflect on these words as you pray for immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 254

The Ninth Federal Circuit Court of Appeals Continues to Block the Administration’s Attempt to End DACA. The Administration cannot arbitrarily end the DACA program, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The program remains in effect temporarily while other cases wind through the courts. Ultimately, the Supreme Court will decide whether the program can continue.

Important Information on Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS holders from Nicaragua and Sudan had their status extended until April 2, 2019. For details affecting someone’s individual legal status, contact a qualified immigration attorney. Click here for more information on TPS from Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC).

Seeking Asylum is a Right Protected by International and U.S. Law. Under U.S. law, a person may apply for asylum at a port of entry or from within the United States. The law explicitly permits people who are in the United States to seek asylum whether they entered with documentation or not. An application for asylum may also be filed as a defense from deportation. See background information from CLINIC.

What Can One Person Do To Stop Human Trafficking?  Human trafficking is all around us – what can we do? For recognizable signs and “take action” suggestions, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) website.

Muslims and Jews in Pittsburgh – Jews and Catholics in Atlanta. In the wake of the mass shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue, Muslim and Jewish communities in Pittsburgh continue a supportive relationship that has existed since before 9/11. Both communities recognize their predecessors as immigrants and join in opposition to hatred. Likewise, Catholic and Jewish communities in Atlanta have developed a continuing relationship based on the Second Vatican Council document Nostra Aetate.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 253

Prayer Reminder. Born in Italy in 1850, Frances Xavier Cabrini founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and brought them to the United States to minister among Italian immigrants. She was canonized in 1946 as the first U.S. citizen saint of the Catholic Church. Click here to read more about her life. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, pray for us and all migrating people.

The “Caravan” From Central America Consists of Our Brothers and Sisters.  National Catholic leaders put the “caravan” of migrants moving through Mexico in a Christian perspective. Catholic agencies assisting poor and vulnerable migrants in the United States and around the world have affirmed that seeking asylum is not a crime, urge all governments to abide by international law and existing domestic laws that protect those seeking safe haven and ensure that all those returned to their home country are protected and repatriated safely. Read the complete statement.

CLINIC Stands Ready. Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) and its affiliates stand ready to assist refugees and asylum seekers, especially those who are fleeing intolerable conditions in their homeland.

Humanitarian Groups Prepare. No matter how many people come to the border, humanitarian groups such as the Jesuit Kino Border Initiative are ready to assist with dignity and compassion. Click here to read more.

ICYMI – Rulemaking and Advocacy. ICYMI – Rulemaking and Advocacy. Federal rules and regulations can have a dramatic impact on immigration, but how can someone effectively advocate in the rulemaking process? On October 17, staff from Justice for Immigrants and core affiliates discussed the potential harm to immigrants and refugees based on current proposed changes, how to promote Catholic priorities and why we should comment on proposals. A very helpful webinar is available online. Also, check out this resource from Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC).

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 252

Is It a Crisis? Migration is often called a “crisis,” but some would say it is not one. “I think one of the things we need to do is tone down the hysteria,” said Michael Czerny, S.J., undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Vatican’s Office for Integral Human Development. America Magazine quotes Father Czerny, suggesting that the cause is mismanagement and poor policy, both can be rectified with sufficient political will.

The “Caravan” and Catholic Social Teaching. Catholic social teaching helps us look at world events through the lens of the Gospel and our Catholic tradition. David Hollenbeck, S.J. shares his reflection on the Gospel and political positioning related to those from Central America making their way toward the United States, many seeking lawful asylum.

An Early Christmas Present. The Justice for Immigrants annual conference will be in Arlington, Virginia December 5-7, 2018. This very important conference is filled with information and a good way to prepare for supporting immigrants in the new year. Scholarships are available. Learn more and register online.

ICYMI – Rulemaking and Advocacy. Federal rules and regulations can have a dramatic impact on immigration, but how can someone effectively advocate in the rulemaking process? On October 17, staff from Justice for Immigrants and core affiliates discussed the potential harm to immigrants and refugees based on current proposed changes, how to promote Catholic priorities and why we should comment on proposals. A very helpful webinar is now available online. Also, check out this resource from Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC).

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 251

Synod of Bishops. The Synod of Bishops in Rome focuses on youth and vocations, but immigration issues are often discussed. A young graduate of Georgetown University shares her life as an immigrant in America. See other stories on Twitter using #caring4migrants.

Rulemaking and Advocacy. Federal rules and regulations can have a dramatic impact on immigration, but how can someone effectively advocate in the rulemaking process? On October 17, staff from Justice for Immigrants and core affiliates discussed the potential harm to immigrants and refugees based on current proposed changes, how to promote Catholic priorities, and why we should comment on proposals. A very helpful webinar is now available online. Also, check out this resource from Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC).

Family Separation. Not just talk but action is needed. Lutheran Immigration Services and USCCB Office of Migration Services issued a press release and report on the work of faith-based organizations to assist separated immigrant and refugee families.

ICYMI – Ask to Hear a Story or Share Yours. Everyone has family stories, but immigrant stories have special sacrifices and heroism. Read this reflection. Think about your story and ask others to share theirs.