Category Archives: Articles

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

Election Do’s and Don’ts

With statewide and local elections approaching, please remember to engage in productive civil discourse in your parish, personal writings and in social media, including memes. 

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)’s guidelines state: 

“Parishes and other IRS-designated section 501(c)(3) church organizations are prohibited from participating in political campaign activity. Thus, certain political activities that are entirely appropriate for individuals may not be undertaken by church organizations or their representatives.” 

“Do not endorse or oppose candidates, political parties, or groups of candidates, or take any action that reasonably could be construed as endorsement or opposition.”

That is, neither the Church nor anyone speaking on behalf of the Catholic Church or its agencies may support or oppose any candidate or political party, but the Church may address the moral aspect of political issues.

The following Do’s and Don’ts should be followed in all parishes within the Archdiocese of Atlanta:

DO:

  • Address the moral and human dimensions of public issues.
  • Share church teaching on human life, human rights, justice and peace.
  • Allow distribution only of political literature that is approved and issued by the USCCB.

DO NOT:

  • Endorse or oppose candidates for political office.
  • Allow distribution of political literature on parish property or under church auspices.
  • Arrange for groups to work for a candidate for public office.
  • Invite only selected candidates to address your church-sponsored group.
  • Distribute a biased candidate survey.

For more information, please visit the USCCB 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. 226

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.

Catholic Bishops Criticize Administration’s Deployment of National Guard to Southern Border. U.S. Bishops’ Migration Committee Chair Bishop Joe Vasquez issued a statement supporting the bishops serving along the border. Read more from the Catholic Standard and on the Diocese of Laredo website.

Gaudete et Exultate. Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on holiness focuses on wide aspects of service that expresses holiness. “Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned.” Also, he says “This is not a notion invented by some Pope, or a momentary fad.” Click here to read the entire exhortation on the Vatican website.

Introducing Real Refugees. Pope Francis speaks often of the need to encounter others, not just have information about them. Last September, the Holy Father initiated the “Share the Journey” campaign so we all might encounter our refugee and migrant brothers and sisters. Check out the featured stories online and reflect on how you are encountering refugees in your community.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 225

2018 Georgia General Assembly Session Ended on March 29. When the 2018 legislative session ended, several anti-immigrant bills “died” without action and will not become law. SB 452 would have mandated various courts and state and local law enforcement agencies identify persons in their custody who are not lawfully present, detain them and provide information to federal immigration officials. Currently, some of the prescribed actions are authorized but not required. Senate Resolution 587 sponsored by Senator Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) and SR 613 sponsored by Senator David Shafer both proposed a constitutional amendment to make English the official language of Georgia for all government documents, including driver license applications and tests. SB 161 proposed a separately designed driver license for non-citizens to quickly identify immigrants and raise suspicions about anyone with the license, whether they are documented or not. The Georgia Catholic Conference opposed all these bills.

National Guard Deployed to the Southern Border? As the Administration proposed the National Guard to “defend” the border between the United States and Mexico, Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso succinctly summed up the situation and Christian response, including a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Immigration Law Is Complex. Do not trust just anyone when you have immigration law questions. Refer to protection information and unauthorized practice of immigration law on the Catholic Legal Immigration Network website.

ICYMI – 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).

 

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. 223

Important – ICYMI – Protect Archdiocesan Ministries! Please carefully read and heed Archbishop Gregory’s letter to the faithful of the Archdiocese regarding House Bill 605, now pending in the Georgia General Assembly. If it passes, it can affect our services to immigrants as well as others in need.

The Journey Continues. Please remember Share the Journey, the two year campaign initiated by Pope Francis, to draw world-wide attention to our migrating sisters and brothers. It is not too late to join the journey! Even the Lenten toolkit is still available. Chose whatever your parish or community feels called to do.

Pray the Stations of the Cross. Please pray the Stations of the Cross as we approach Holy Week, as well as written meditations related to human trafficking. Jesus began earthly life as a refugee from oppression and His passion and death brought Him to the peripheries of society.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Re-Interviews. USCIS is sending refugees notices to appear for interviews. If you or someone you know receives a notice, do not ignore it. Seek the advice of a qualified immigration attorney. Read this information sheet to prepare for the interview.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 222

Protect Archdiocesan Ministries! Please carefully read and heed Archbishop Gregory’s letter to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Atlanta regarding House Bill 605 now pending in the Georgia General Assembly. If it passes, it can affect our services to immigrants and others in need.

Congratulations to Sister Norma Pimentel! The University of Notre Dame announced that Sister Norma Pimentel will be awarded the prestigious Laetare Medal for her work with migrants. Pope Francis commended her by name in conjunction with his pilgrimage to the United State in 2015.

Important Information for Burmese Refugees. If you are a Burmese refugee or work with one and have received a strange letter that appears to be from the government, please click here to read an update from the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC).

National Catholic Call Congress for Dreamers Day. On February 26, over 48,000 Catholics called their congress representatives and senators to support Dreamers. If you did not get a chance to do it, there is still time to have your voice heard.

The Border is a Place for Encounter, Not a Place for Violence. As bishop of the border city of El Paso, Bishop Mark Seitz continued his advocacy work for Dreamers in Washington last week.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 221

National Catholic Call Congress For Dreamers Day. Responding to a call from Catholic bishops across the country, many Catholics called Congress members on February 26 asking them to protect Dreamers from deportation, to provide them a path to citizenship, and to avoid any damage to existing protections for families and unaccompanied minors in the process. You can still call members of Congress.  Find more information here.

Catholic Sisters, Priests and Other Leaders Demonstrate For Dreamers In Washington. A group of sisters, priests and others demonstrated and engaged in civil disobedience to call attention to the plight of DACA recipients as the Administration’s March 5 deadline. Several sisters and priests were arrested.

Catholic Cardinals Speak on Immigrants. Cardinal Joseph Tobin, archbishop of Newark, NJ, criticizing the lack of civility in public discourse, saying “we are witnessing an escalating display of hatred for undocumented individuals and families. We have stopped seeing the faces of our immigrant brothers and sisters, and the stories behind their faces.” “There’s a little bit of migrant in everyone, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines, said during a U.S. visit. The story of human history is one based on people moving around the planet in search of a better life, and it is humanity’s responsibility – and the Church’s – to welcome travelers and meet their needs.”

ICYMI — Combine Lenten Practice With Support For Immigrant Neighbors. Still trying to decide what to do for Lent and affect your life and the lives of others? CLINIC has s series of digital devotions linking Scripture, prayer and human stories. Everyone can participate.

 A Nation of Immigrants. USCIS has changed its mission statement to delete the phrase “a nation of immigrants” but that does not change the reality of America.