Category Archives: Articles

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 276

President Trump Has Proposed Legislation To Change the Current Immigrations System. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Joe Vásquez, chair of the Committee on Migration, have taken exception to some of the proposals. In particular, USCCB seeks continued emphasis on family based immigration policies, not strictly merit based immigration. Catholic teaching has long supported the family as the basic building block of society. Quoting Pope Francis: “Family is the place in which we are formed as persons. Each family is a brick that builds society.” Furthermore, the bishops continue to support those currently protected by DACA and those who are legally in this country under Temporary Protected Status (TPS). See the complete statement here.

Do We Need More Border Security? The Administration seems to think that we do, but read this thoughtful article from the Center For Migration Studies.

Georgia Immigration Enforcement Review Board Dismantled. In 2011, the Georgia General Assembly established the Immigration Enforcement Review Board to consider complaints related to immigration enforcement compliance against local governments. The Board has been largely ineffective and Governor Kemp has signed legislation dissolving it. 

There’s An App For That! There is an app for everything, but how about an app to help integrate refugees and new comers into a new country. A graduate student at Washington State University is working on an application to help refugees integrate into England. Why could we not develop one for Georgia? Just a thought.

ICYMI — Trying to Help Immigrant or Refugee Children and Their Families But Don’t Know Where to Find Resources. There is a wealth of awesome resources from Bridging Refugee Youth and Children Services website https://brycs.org/

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 275

Mothers Day. Pray for all our mothers, living and dead. The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) has compiled stories of four mothers going through the asylum process to come into the United States with their children.  Discover why you should help those seeking asylum and sign a petition asking the Administration to provide protection for asylum seekers.

How to Help Fight Human Trafficking. Is hard to believe, but human trafficking is all around us, and immigrants are particularly vulnerable. See the recommendations from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The first step is educating yourself and your fellow parishioners. Catholic social teaching supports the fight against human trafficking.

Could You Become a Foster Parent for a Refugee Child? It takes a big commitment, but if you are interested, please contact the USCCB Office of Migration Services. See more information here.

Trying to Help Immigrant or Refugee Children and Their Families, But doesn’t Know Where to Find Resources. Bridging Refugee Youth and Children Services has a wealth of awesome resources on their website.    

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 274

Questions About Citizenship? What does a legal permanent resident need to do to obtain U.S. citizenship? Go to a free citizenship clinic at Gwinnett College on May 11 to obtain information.

In addition, if you know a lawful permanent resident (“Green Card” holder) who talks about applying for citizenship, but never gets started, a free webinar from Justice for Immigrants might help you motivate him/her.

Gwinnett County 287(g) Participation. The federal program known as 287(g) authorizes a state law enforcement agency to enforce immigration laws. Not all county or city agencies in Georgia have chosen to participate, but the sheriff of Gwinnett County has announced that his Sheriff’s Department will actively participate. Currently, the counties of Cobb, Floyd, Gwinnett, Hall and Whitfield are the only participating counties in Georgia.

Bishops Opposing Rule Changes That Make Asylum More Difficult. Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso continues to speak out for the protection of immigrants. This time, he testified how the diocese and other border communities are serving asylum seekers. “It is an honor for the Church and for Christians in general to serve these vulnerable people…. We do not begrudge the opportunity, but our resources and our volunteers are being significantly strained by the scope and duration of the high arrival rates.”   See his full written testimony here.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) For Venezuelans. TPS was established by Congress through the Immigration Act of 1990 to protect foreign nationals in the United States from being returned to their home country if, during the time they were in the U.S., it became unsafe from violence, disease or death. Because of the political upheaval in Venezuela, the country should be designates for TPS to protect Venezuelans living in the United States, but the Administration has not yet acted. See more details here.

ICYMI – Have You Missed a Justice for Immigrants Webinar? Have no fear. JFI archives their webinars and makes them available to all.   

ICYMI – Want to Dig Into the Legal Details of Immigration? The best place to learn all the current immigration legal practice is CLINIC’s annual convening that will be held in Pittsburgh, PA from May 29 to 31.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 273

Stations of the Cross With Pope Francis. On Good Friday 2019, Pope Francis presided over the stations of the cross with meditations written by Consolata Sister Eugenia Bonetti, 80, a long-time advocate against human trafficking. Read the text of the meditations and the closing prayer written by the Holy Father himself here.

Have You Missed a Justice for Immigrants Webinar? Have no fear. JFI archives their webinars and makes them available to all.

Citizenship Has Benefits. Do you know lawful permanent residents (“Green Card” holders) who talk about applying for citizenship but never get started. A free webinar from Justice for Immigrants might help you motivate them.

Want to Dig Into the Legal Details of Immigration? The best place to learn all the current immigration legal practice is CLINIC’s annual convening that will be held in Pittsburgh, PA from May 29 to 31.

Tax Season For Those Without Immigration Documentation. Even without documentation, taxes are due this time of the year. Many individuals without documentation do pay income tax either by filing returns or failing to claim over paid withholding. Why would they file returns and pay? Read more here.

What Is It Like On The Immigration Front Line? We hear a lot of statistics and arguments, but what is involved in working face to face with immigrants on the front lines of an immigration law practice? Read a reflection from a Miami Catholic Charities attorney.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 272

USCCB Chair Supports Federal Legislation to Extend Temporary Protective Status and To Give Path To Citizenship For Dreamers.  Speaking on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Joe Vásquezcontinues to advocate for a legislation benefiting immigrants. The bishop endorsed two pending bills that support hardworking individuals who have spent years of their live in the United States – Dreamers who were brought to this country as children and those who have contributed to our country after coming from countries ravaged by war or natural disasters. “We need a permanent legislative solution for those who have spent their lives contributing and living in the United States, the country they know as home.” 

ICYMI – Stations of the Cross – Rome or Atlanta. If you cannot join Pope Francis in Rome for the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, come to the urban Stations of the Cross sponsored by the Justice and Peace Ministries of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. The theme of the meditations will be human trafficking in the light of the Cross. Stations in Atlanta will begin at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at 8:45 a.m. and end at the King Center. Get more information here.

Pope Francis has asked Consolata Sister Eugenia Bonetti, 80, a long-time advocate against trafficking, to prepare the texts for the evening service.

“A Crime against Humanity.” Speaking to a Rome conference on migration, Pope Francis characterized human trafficking a “crime against humanity” and “an unjustifiable violation of the freedom and dignity of the victims.” Read more here.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 271

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory. As we send Archbishop Gregory to Washington with our prayers, we must remember his continuing support for immigrants and refugees in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, from his installation Mass homily in Spanish to the present. He spoke out against the ending of DACA and against the separation of families. He also called for justice for immigrants in multiple homilies interviews:

We can be sure Archbishop Gregory will continue his service and advocacy for immigrants from his new home in Washington, and the Archdiocese of Atlanta will build on his legacy in north and central Georgia.

Anna Marie Gallagher Appointed Executive Director of CLINIC. The Board of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), where Bishop Gregory Hartmayer of Savannah and I serve, has elected Anna Marie Gallagher as its new executive director. Read more about Anna and her qualifications, which lead us to expect more great things from CLINIC.

Stations of the Cross – Rome or Atlanta. If you cannot join Pope Francis in Rome for the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, come to the urban Stations of the Cross sponsored by the Justice and Peace Ministries of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. The theme of the meditations will be human trafficking in the light of the Cross. Stations in Atlanta will begin at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception at 8:45 a.m. and end at the King Center. Get more information here.

Pope Francis has asked Consolata Sister Eugenia Bonetti, 80, a long-time advocate against trafficking, to prepare the texts for the evening service.

ICYMI – Urge U.S. Government to Resettle 30,000 Refugees in This Fiscal Year. Is that a lot? The average number of refugees authorized for resettlement in the U.S, has been 90,000 over the last forty years. Half way through the 2019 federal fiscal year, we are on track to resettle about 23,000, Refugee resettlement in this country and in Georgia under the leadership of Catholic Charities has benefited the refugees and our own nation. See the Justice for Immigrants website for more information and a way to urge more resettlement. 

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 270

Important Update for Liberians! This past week, at the last minute, the Administration extended the temporary protected status (TPS) for Liberians to March 30, 2020. In this article, read about the protections TPS affords and comments on what Liberians in the United States need to know. As the name implies, TPS is only a temporary reprieve. CLINIC commented on the need for a permanent congressional solution over the next year.

Why Asylum Seekers Do Not Want to Stay in Mexico? The Administration wants asylum seekers to stay on the Mexican side of the border awaiting a hearing. Read this article showing why this policy fails to protect people who have a right to seek asylum.

FaithBased Response at the Border. While the Administration creates chaos and hardship at our southern border, the Catholic bishops with dioceses bordering Mexico have joined with other faith-based organizations to offer help for migrating people, not “strangers among us” but our brothers and sisters. Read more here.

“Center of the Church’s Heart.” During his 27-hour trip to Morocco, Pope Francis continued his focus on the dignity of migrant peoples and the need for a welcoming attitude. The Holy Father addressed them as the “center of the Church’s heart.”

Urge U.S. Government to Resettle 30,000 Refugees in This Fiscal Year. Is that a lot? Over the last forty years, the average number of refugees authorized for resettlement in the U.S. has been 90,000. Half way through the 2019 federal fiscal year, we are on track to resettle about 23,000. Refugee resettlement in this country and in Georgia, under the leadership of Catholic Charities, has benefited the refugees and our own nation. See the Justice for Immigrants website for more information and a way to urge more resettlement. 

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 269

ICYMI – Ask the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to Rescind the Remain in Mexico Policy. It is not a crime to seek asylum. It is a right. DHS policy prevents exercise of that right by impeding asylum seekers from entering the United States at the Mexican border. As a result, many asylum seekers must wait in unsafe conditions in Mexico. Read more about it and send an email to the Secretary of DHS here. Justice for Immigrants makes the process easy but you can have a big impact.

Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians. Liberians protected by the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) should be aware that, although there is a lawsuit pending that could extend the deadline, March 31, 2019, is the last date that the protection is in effect. Follow this link for the resource tips from CLINIC.

Sister Norma Pimentel. Sister Norma has been recognized by Pope Francis, delegations of bishops and Notre Dame University, among others, for her work with migrants at the Catholic Charities Respite Center in McAllen, Texas. Read her enlightening interview as she prepares to speak to deliver the Spanish keynote address at the 2019 Religious Education Congress in Los Angeles.

How Can You Encourage Lawful Permanent Residents to Seek Citizenship? Lawful permanent residents who are eligible for citizenship often delay taking that step. If you know or work with those people, register for this CLINIC webinar, which offers strategies to help those residents see the benefits of citizenship.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 268

What Happened to “Share the Journey”? Pope Francis initiated the two-year journey almost a year and a half ago to encourage people all over the world to educate themselves and support migrants. There is still time to participate and Lent is a good time to pray and sacrifice. The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Rice Bowl program is an excellent way to participate. See the “Share the Journey” website with recommendations including a CRS link.

Join Pope Francis in Prayer. During the month of March, Pope Francis asks all to pray to eradicate human trafficking – modern slavery. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a program for education, advocacy and action to attack human trafficking.

Ask the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to Rescind the Remain in Mexico Policy. It is not a crime to seek asylum. It is a right. DHS policy prevents exercise of that right by impeding asylum seekers from entering the United States at the Mexican border. As a result, many asylum seekers must wait in unsafe conditions in Mexico. Read more about it and send an email to the Secretary of DHS here. Justice for Immigrants makes the process easy, but you can have a big impact.

Would You Like a Cup of Coffee? The question is more than an offer of a wake up drink. It can also be an invitation to community and sharing. Refugee Coffee offers that opportunity for community in Clarkston, Georgia, known as the Most Diverse Square Mile in the World. The world has noticed. “We want to connect people,” said founder Kitti Murray. Read the complete story here. Refugee Coffee offered free coffee to participants in Refugees At the Georgia State Capitol this year.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 267

What is Needed for Dreamers and TPS Holders? Auxiliary Bishop Dorsonville-Rodriquez of Washington, DC testified on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) before a congressional committee. He asked for legislation to include protection for DREAMERS and path to citizenship for them; a path to citizenship for temporary protected status (TPS) holders and continued protection for unaccompanied children, asylum seekers and family-based immigrants. Click here for the full statement.

11th Circuit Denies DACA Holders Request. The Georgia Board of Regents policy denies college admission to DREAMERS who ae seeking admission to flagship state universities – University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State College and University. After litigation, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of that policy.

Director of Religious Education Reflects on Effects of ICE Raid.   Mary Hood Hart, a frequent contributor to the Southern Cross, writes about the effects of an ICE raid on her fellow parishioners.

Release of Detained Children. Five days after Catholic Legal Immigration (CLINIC) and others filed a complaint warning of the increase in infants younger than a year old detained in Dilley, Texas, many have been released. This is good example of the effect of monitoring and advocating for endangered people.