Category Archives: Alerts

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. 229

Georgia Supreme Court Refused to Hear In-State Tuition Case. Without explanation, the Georgia Supreme Court will not review a Court of Appeals decision denying in-state tuition for DACA recipients. Thus, students in Georgia state colleges and universities will continue to pay higher out of state tuition in institutions that allow undocumented students to attend. An example of this policy with long term benefits is New Jersey, which has allowed in-state tuition for undocumented students since 2013 and has now adopted a law permitting increased financial aid for those students.

What Can I Do to Accompany Immigrants? Become active in your community. Resources are available from the U.S. bishops’ Justice for Immigrants Campaign.

Archbishop Gregory Responds to a Young Interviewer. In his most recent Georgia Bulletin column, Archbishop Gregory reflected on an interview by a young girl preparing for First Holy Communion. In his reflection of the value and dignity of all life, he wrote, “What she reminded me was that our love for all of God’s creatures must include even the people whom some folks might consider inconvenient, expendable and bothersome.” That is, those who are immigrants, prisoners and poor.

Archbishop Jose Gomez Speaks of Immigration Policy. Addressing the graduating class of the Catholic University of America, the archbishop of Los Angeles summarized his beliefs on immigrants saying, “We can still rely on the protection of divine Providence. We can still open our door with confidence to people who are yearning to breathe free. We can still practice a politics with malice toward none and charity for all. We are made for greater things.” Archbishop Gomez is an adult immigrant from Mexico.

ICYMI – Will DACA Continue, Allow Renewals or Accept New Applications? There have been court decisions related to DACA, but all media reports are not completely accurate. If you are DACA registered or want to be, consult a qualified attorney or non-profit legal provider. For a quick rundown of options, check out the diagram on the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) website

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 228

Catholic Bishops Support “Uniting and Securing America (USA) Act of 2017” (H.R. 4796).  The USA Act is a bipartisan bill that offers a path to citizenship for DACA Dreamers and increases existing border security technology at the U.S./Mexico border. Read more on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) website. Also, Archbishop Jose Gomez explains the bill in light of the California experience.

Legislative Orientation Program (LOP) Funding Not “Paused.” LOP is a program funded by the Department of Justice so that non-profit grant recipients can provide an orientation on pertinent legal rights to new detainees in immigration detention centers. Catholic Charities Atlanta provides these services to Stewart, Ocilla and Atlanta detention centers. The Department of Justice initially proposed to “pause’ the funding this month, but after comments from a number of organizations, including a joint letter from a group of bishops, including Archbishop Gregory and Bishop Hartmayer, the Department reversed the decision and will continue the funding.

Will DACA Continue, Allow Renewals or Accept New Applications? There have been court decisions related to DACA, but all media reports are not completely accurate. If you are DACA registered or want to be, consult a qualified attorney or non-profit legal provider. For a quick rundown of options, check out the diagram on the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) website.

Catholic Bishops Continue to Speak Out in Support of Migrating People. Read or listen to the interview with Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, NJ. Among other things, the Cardinal, invoking principles of Catholic social teaching, said, “Certainly, the capricious nature of the laws and the enforcement of laws around immigration is an offense to human dignity. It is a wound to the common good.”

ICYMI – How Much Do You Want To Know About Immigration Law and Practice? The Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) provides many courses in a variety of formats for those who want to know more about immigration law. Visit the CLINIC website for a 90 minute presentation on the fundamentals of immigration law and a four part webinar series on family based immigration applications. For a complete introduction or more extensive information, plan to attend the CLINIC Annual Convening in Tucson, Arizona May 30 – June 1.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 227

Lawsuit Filed Against Operator of Detention Center. Three detainees have filed a class action lawsuit against the contract operator of the Steward Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, alleging that the company unlawfully required detainees to work for substandard wages.

Gaudate et Exaltate (continued). For good commentary on Pope Francis’ recent apostolic exhortation with an emphasis on the human dignity of migrants, check out this article from National Catholic Reporter.

The United States Supreme Court ruled this week that some deportation related statutes are unconstitutional because they vaguely describe crimes that authorize deportation. This decision does not apply to all crimes. As always, consult a qualified immigration attorney if you think you or someone you know is in danger of deportation.

ICYMI – How Much Do You Want To Know About Immigration Law and Practice? The Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) provides many courses in a variety of formats for those who want to know more about immigration law. Visit the CLINIC website for a 90 minute presentation on the fundamentals of immigration law and a four part webinar series on family based immigration applications. For a complete introduction or more extensive information, plan to attend the CLINIC Annual Convening in Tucson, Arizona May 30 – June 1.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 224

Archbishop Gregory Has Spoken in Support of Felix Garcia. Join Archbishop Gregory in support of Felix Garcia, father of a medical student who is preparing for graduation. After 23 years in the United States, he is in Stewart Detention Center threatened with deportation.

Richly Blessed by the Contributions of People From Other Lands. Read Archbishop Gregory’s latest reflection on the value of immigrants among us; an important antidote to news from other sources. Please note that Archbishop Gregory shares reflections in The Georgia Bulletin. Check it out online, or better yet, get your own mailed subscription.

Immigration Scams. Whenever people get desperate, especially when they fear deportation, scammers will take money without providing services. Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) provides helpful information for determining what legal service providers are legitimate. Don’t let your friends fall victim to a scam.

Connect on Social Media. If you are on Twitter and want up to date information about immigration developments from the Catholic perspective, please follow accounts sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) – including the Justice for Immigrants campaign, Migration and Refugee Services, and ‏Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC).

ICYMI – U.S. Customs and Immigration Service Re-Interviews. USCIS is sending some refugees notices to appear for interviews. If you or someone you know receives such a notice, do not ignore it. Seek the advice of a qualified immigration attorney. Read the CLINIC information sheet to help you prepare for the interview.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 208

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Developments. On November 6, the United States Homeland Security (DHS) canceled immigration benefits for nearly 5,300 Nicaraguan nationals who are in the United States, but extended benefits for 86,000 Hondurans. The Trump Administration gave Nicaraguan TPS recipients 12 months after the country designation’s end date to arrange their affairs and either leave the country or obtain legal status through a different visa category. Now, Nicaraguans under TPS will be allowed to remain and work in the country until January 5, 2019. Since the Administration did not make a determination on Honduras’s TPS designation, it is automatically extended by six months, and will now expire on July 5, 2018. Click here for more information.

After January 5, 2019, Nicaraguan TPS beneficiaries who stay in the United States and do not get a different visa will revert to their previous immigration status. The large majority of the affected beneficiaries, if not all, would become undocumented. Both Honduran and Nicaraguan TPS holders should seek legal advice from competent immigration attorneys as soon as possible to protect themselves and their families. Parishes should also seek ways to give pastoral support to families in their midst.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians. The Administration has not made a decision on TPS for Haitians and it has until November 23, 2018 to do so. This decision will affect 50,000 people living in the United States.

Resources from CLINIC Regarding Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Click here to read more information and concerns from Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) regarding TPS for Nicaraguans and Hondurans. CLINIC also has more information on all TPS holders.

ICYMI – Training for Parish Leaders. The Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies (CRSA), of which Catholic Charities Atlanta is a member, is hosting an advocacy training for faith partners on November 16 at 10:00 a.m. This training will help faith leaders learn more about the recent executive orders affecting refugees and how to best advocate for our refugee communities and the agencies who serve them. The training will be virtual (via a conference call) with materials provided by email. Please help us identify a leader to participate in this training and lead refugee advocacy efforts for your parish. Please RSVP to Hope Jensen from CRSA at civicengagementintern@newamericanpathways.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 206

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) from Honduras, El Salvador and Haiti. Archbishop Wilton Gregory has issued a statement requesting that President Trump extend temporary protected status (TPS) related to Honduras, El Salvador and Haiti for 180 days. Currently, there are approximately 237,000 refugees from those countries in the United States. The report from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to which the Archbishop referred in his statement can be read in full here. These are the reasons why extended TPS is important, particularly for Hondurans living in the United States.


New Resource for Family Preparedness
. There is a new legal preparedness guide available in English and Spanish to assist families in preparing for the possibility that a parent will suddenly be threatened with deportation. This guide contains useful information for undocumented individuals and those helping them.


Training Information From Catholic Charities Atlanta
. The Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies (CRSA), of which Catholic Charities Atlanta is a member, is hosting an advocacy training for faith partners on November 16th at 10 am. This training is aimed at helping faith leaders learn more about the recent executive orders affecting refugees and how to best advocate for our refugee communities and the agencies who serve them. The training will be virtual (via a conference call) with materials provided by email. Please help us identify a leader to participate in the call and lead refugee advocacy efforts for your parish. Those who wish to participate may RSVP to Hope Jensen from CRSA: civicengagementintern@newamericanpathways.org.


In-State Tuition for DACA Students
. The Georgia Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court decision that would have allow DACA students to pay significantly lower tuition at state colleges and universities. The plaintiffs will appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 203

#ShareJourney Is Here! For a strong start to the Holy Father’s “Share the Journey” campaign, please join Archbishop Gregory for a multi-faith prayer gathering on October 11 at 10:00 a.m. in Angora Hall, Clarkston Community Center, 3701 College Avenue, Clarkston, GA 30021. For more information, visit the Archdiocese of Atlanta website, email justpeace@archatl.com or call 404-920-7897.

How Will You or Your Parish Celebrate National Migration Week? Local suggestions will come in soon for the 2018 National Migration Week (January 7-13). The theme is “Many Journeys, One Family.” In the meantime, Justice for Immigrants (JFI), sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is offering an informative webinar with suggestions on October 19. Find details on their website.

ICYMI – Haitians With Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Take Note. TPS is a legal designation that allows citizens of certain countries to remain in the United States on a temporary basis because of serious problems in their home country. The Administration must renew the status for each country every six to eighteen months. Fifty nine thousand (59,000) Haitians have held TPS status since the catastrophic earthquake in 2010. Although many believe that Haiti has not yet recovered sufficiently for those with TPS in the United States to return, the Administration has announced that status will end in January 2018. Unless the Administration changes course by November, Haitians with TPS will lose their status and have to return to Haiti. Haitians with TPS should review their options and seek competent legal advice as soon as possible.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 201

Late Breaking News — Share the Journey Campaign Is Local.  On September 27, 2017, Pope Francis will launch a campaign called “Share the Journey,” which is aimed at increasing support and solidarity for immigrants and refugees. While this campaign is international in scope, many other faith communities will join the Archdiocese of Atlanta to implement this campaign. Archbishop Gregory will initiate “Share the Journey” by bringing together other faith leaders for prayer to support immigrants and refugees. All are invited to this prayer event on October 11, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. at a location in Clarkston, Georgia. More information will be forthcoming, but please save the date. 

Any Current DACA Recipients whose benefit expires before March 5, 2018 MUST file for DACA renewal by October 5, 2017. Please contact an immigration attorney immediately to determine if you are eligible.

What To Do As DACA Ends. Trying to help a DACA recipient figure out the next step? Remind them that nothing takes the place of good legal advice from a qualified immigration attorney. Also, click here for a flow chart of next steps and find additional information on the CLINIC website.

St. Frances Cabrini was an Italian religious sister who became a naturalized United States citizen, and later the first United States citizen to be a canonized saint. Pope Francis recently expressed his admiration for her to the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, a religious community that she founded: “I assure you of my remembrance and prayers with deep affection, both because I have always known the figure of Mother Cabrini and because of the special concern I devote to the cause of immigrants.”

ICYMI – Be Prepared to Protect Family Members! In the wake of the Trump Administration’s rescission of the DACA program, rumors continue to swirl – both good that legislation is forthcoming, and bad that deportations will increase. Take time TODAY to prepare or help others prepare for the possibility of a sudden departure.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 197

Pope Francis Offers Important Concrete Points Related to Refugees. Pope Francis has released his statement in anticipation of next year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees, originally established by Pope St. Pius X. More than just a call for dialogue, the pope offered a series of concrete proposals for world leaders to consider when drafting two forthcoming United Nations’ agreements. The Holy Father made it clear that the collective and arbitrary expulsion of migrants and refugees does not resolve the world’s immigrant crisis.

U.S. Bishops Continue Their Concern for Immigrants. Catholic bishops across the country continue to speak against unjust proposals related to immigrants and refugees. The California Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote against legislation that would ease deportations that divide families and support legislation that balances the need for security with the protection of human dignity.   

“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” or DACA. The DACA program has allowed legal protection for 600,000-800,000 young people brought into the United States as children. The Trump administration still considers ending the program, but Catholic bishops continue to advocate in support of the program.

ICYMI – If You Read Nothing Else About Race and Immigration, read Archbishop Gregory’s interview with CRUX. Immigration and the race problem are really two sides of the same coin – whether the United States wants to be one, inclusive country or not. As Archbishop Gregory explained, “If we think that we can solve this (immigration) problem simply by focusing on race, we will leave the head of this dragon unaffected.”