Category Archives: Articles

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. 200

The 200th Report. Unbelievable as it seems, this is the 200th Comprehensive Immigration Report from the Georgia Catholic Conference! This report began to help parishes and others in Georgia with the expectation of comprehensive immigration reform from the federal government. That reform has not come, but the need to help immigrants and refugees remains. Please keep all in your prayers and look for ways to help our brothers and sisters. We will continue to provide information that supports our Catholic teaching and suggest resources for practical assistance.

Reminder – Catholic Charities Atlanta provides immigration legal services. Catholic Charities will conduct a DACA renewal assistance clinic at their Northlake Office (2305 Parklake Drive, Suite 150, Atlanta, GA 30345) from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm on Saturday, September 23rd.

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.

How Can You Help? The USCCB Justice for Immigrants campaign has produced community engagement resources. Parish leaders may also be interested in these ten suggestions for helping undocumented immigrants.

ICYMI – Share the Journey.  On September 27, 2017, the Holy Father will launch a Caritas-led campaign, “Share the Journey,” which is aimed at increasing support and solidarity for immigrants and refugees. This campaign will be international; and in the United States, will be coordinated by Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services, and several offices in the USCCB. They will focus on a variety of important topics, including the Church’s engagement with immigrants and refugees, Catholic social teaching on migration, and the need to address the root causes that drive migration. The “Share the Journey” campaign will run for two years.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 199

“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” or DACA Has Been Rescinded. It is now widely known that the DACA program is being rescinded by the Trump Administration. Many Catholic and other leaders, including Archbishop Gregory and Bishop Hartmayer, have expressed their regret at the decision.

This Weekly Report is intended to share with all priests, brothers, sisters and others throughout the Archdiocese of Atlanta and Diocese of Savannah information related to the changing immigration landscape. This series of reports that began over four years ago, highlights support for immigrants from all countries expressed by Pope Francis and Catholic leaders, including our own bishops. We will continue to provide links to reliable information and websites that offer not only encouragement, but also practical information for all who are assisting immigrants.

DACA Resources. Information (and hysteria) about the recession of DACA is flooding the internet. Anyone whose status is affected by the Administration’s decision is well advised to consider their options carefully, especially in conjunction with an immigration lawyer. Options depend on an individual’s current status. Click here for a summary of options for multiple statuses. Those who may be eligible for renewal in the near future should pay particular attention to the October 5, 2017 deadline for renewal filing.

Catholic Charities Atlanta provides immigration legal services. More information is available on their website. Catholic Charities will conduct a DACA renewal assistance clinic at their Northlake Office (2305 Parklake Drive, Suite 150, Atlanta, GA 30345) from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 23rd.

Active Advocacy. While Dreamers must take action to protect their individual status, everyone can advocate for change to benefit the common good. Legislative action is needed. To help, contact the White House, your congressional representatives, the governor and state legislators. Visit this website for important talking points related to legislation supported by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and other immigration groups. The USCCB Justice for Immigrants campaign has also published additional ideas for effective advocacy.

Deportation is a Possibility for Some. Be Prepared to Protect Family Members! We cannot ignore the possibility that some, whether Dreamers or others, will face deportation. Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), sponsored by the USCCB for over twenty-five years, has prepared state forms to help protect children and other family members if parents or caregivers are suddenly deported. The USCCB Justice for Immigrants campaign has also produced good community engagements resources. Parish leaders might be interested in these ten suggestions to help undocumented immigrants.

Share the Journey.  On September 27, 2017, the Holy Father will launch a Caritas-led campaign, “Share the Journey,” which is aimed at increasing support and solidarity for immigrants and refugees. This campaign will be international; and in the United States, will be coordinated by Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services, and several offices in the USCCB. They will focus on a variety of important topics, including the Church’s engagement with immigrants and refugees, Catholic social teaching on migration, and the need to address the root causes that drive migration. The “Share the Journey” campaign will run for years.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 198

“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” or DACA Has Been Rescinded. The DACA program has allowed legal protection for nearly one million young people brought into the country as children. At 11:00 this morning, the Trump Administration announced that the DACA program is being rescinded. The Department of Homeland Security will begin a wind down process, which was not made public at the time of this report. Individuals who have been registered under DACA and their families should be encouraged to follow legal developments and seek advice from immigration attorneys.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory Issued a Statement Expressing His Profound Regret at the Decision to Rescind DACA. Upon the announcement of the Trump Administration’s rescission of DACA, Archbishop Gregory expressed his profound regret. At the same time, he encouraged Congress to compassionately and generously reform the nation’s immigration system and expressed his assurance that the Catholic Church in Georgia would continue its care for DACA youth and their families. The full statement is available on The Georgia Bulletin website. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and other bishops throughout the United States have issued similar statements.

If Arpaio Can Be Pardoned, Why Not Immigrants with Irregular Documentation? Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami asks this question that others ask as well. Archbishop Wenski writes, “The president [pardoned] Sheriff Arpaio. Congress should ‘pardon’ irregular immigrants by passing comprehensive immigration reform.”

ICYMI – 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 which was originally established by Pope St. Pius X. More than just a call for dialogue, the pope offers 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.

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.”

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 196

If You Read Nothing Else About Race and Immigration, please read Archbishop Gregory’s interview with CRUX. Immigration and racism are 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.”

Proposed Anti-DACA Lawsuit. Ten state attorney generals (not including Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr) are threatening to file a law suit demanding the end of the DACA program if the Administration does not begin dismantling it. As with all lawsuits, it is difficult to predict the outcome. But the attorney generals have set a September 5 deadline for the Administration’s response. Catholic leaders continue to speak out supporting the social and individual benefits of DACA.

Pope Francis and U.S. Bishops Continue to Share Their Concern for Immigrants. Pope Francis continues to highlight the importance of assisting migrants throughout the world. In addition to Archbishop Gregory, bishops around the United States continue to speak out, and have a particular concern for protecting families in light of apparent tactics to deport individuals who work to contribute to society and have no criminal background. Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso supported the mother of a cancer-stricken eight year old threatened with deportation. Supporting immigrants is a Gospel imperative according to Bishop Mark Seitz. “I don’t think those (anti-immigrant) elements are to be found in the dumbed-down Gospel that’s out and about today,” he said.

ICYMI – What More Can I Do? Pope Francis Is Leading the Way. On September 27, 2017, the Holy Father will launch a Caritas-led campaign, “Share the Journey,” which is aimed at increasing support and solidarity for immigrants and refugees. This campaign will be international in scope. In the United States, this campaign will be coordinated by Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services and several offices at the USCCB. It will focus on a variety of important topics, including the Church’s engagement with immigrants and refugees, Catholic social teaching on migration, and the need to address the root causes that drive migration. The “Share the Journey” campaign is expected to run for two years. Click here for more details.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 195

How To Teach Young People About Immigration. Children hear about immigrants and refugees from the media and other sources. Here is a resource for teaching them from a more balanced perspective.

Interested in State Immigration Legislation Around the Country? Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) is providing a mid-year roundup of State legislative activity. Join the webinar.

Bishops Reflect on Immigration in Light of the Gospel and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange, California, reflected on how the Gospel and the Catechism call us to generosity as he celebrated with 100,000 Vietnamese pilgrims in Carthage, Missouri. Bishop Vann lamented the proposed reduction in allowable immigrants to the United States. The Catholic bishops of the United States have also spoken against the reductions as well as other provisions of the RAISE Act proposal. Read more here.

Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA) Anniversary. DACA marks its fifth anniversary on August 15, 2017. Despite calls for ending the program, which has helped over 800,000 young people to contribute to our society, many experts continue to see it as an important program that benefits America in many ways. In addition, the Catholic bishops of the United States continue their support of the DACA program.

ICYMI – What More Can I Do? Pope Francis Is Leading the Way. On September 27, 2017, the Holy Father will launch a Caritas-led campaign, “Share the Journey,” which is aimed at increasing support and solidarity for immigrants and refugees. This campaign will be international in scope and, in the United States, will be coordinated by Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services, and several offices at the USCCB. It will focus on a variety of important topics, including the Church’s engagement with immigrants and refugees, Catholic social teaching on migration, and the need to address the root causes that drive migration. The Share the Journey campaign is expected to run for a two-year period. See more here.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 194

What More Can I Do? Pope Francis Is Leading the Way. On September 27, 2017, the Holy Father will launch a Caritas-led campaign, “Share the Journey,” which is aimed at increasing support and solidarity for immigrants and refugees. This campaign will be international in scope. In the United States, this effort will be coordinated by Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Service, and several offices at the USCCB. It will focus on a variety of important topics, including the Church’s engagement with immigrants and refugees, Catholic social teaching on migration, and the need to address the root causes that drive migration. The Share the Journey campaign is expected to run for a two-year period. Click here for more information.

Bishops Oppose Recently Introduced RAISE Act. Senator David Perdue of Georgia, supported by President Trump and others, introduced the federal RAISE Act in Congress. The USCCB released a statement against this legislation, explaining, “The RAISE Act would have our nation turn its back on this long tradition of welcoming families setting out to build a better life.” If passed, the bill would replace the current process for obtaining legal permanent residency (green cards), creating a skills-based point system for employment visas. The bill would also eliminate the preference for U.S. residents’ extended and adult family members, while maintaining priority for their spouses and minor children. The bill would slash immigration by 41% in the legislation’s first year, and 50% in its 10th, would cut the number of refugees in half and eliminate a program that provides visas to people from countries with low rates of immigration. Click here for more information on the bill.

ICYMI – DREAM ACT / DACA. In all the discussion about the Administration’s approach to those the government has given DACA registration status, it is important to remember that DACA was always intended as a temporary remedy for young people brought to the United States as children. Legislation is necessary for permanent status. While advocating for comprehensive immigration as a long-range goal, the Dream Act would give immeasurable help to those who were brought to this country as children. Senators Graham and Durbin have introduced federal Dream legislation. Hence, Catholic bishops continue to support the Dream Act.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 193

DREAM ACT / DACA. In all the discussion about the Administration’s approach to those the government has given DACA registration status, it is important to remember that DACA was always intended as a temporary remedy for young people brought to the United States as children. Legislation is necessary for permanent status. While advocating for comprehensive immigration as a long-range goal, the Dream Act would give immeasurable help to those who were brought to this country as children. Senators Graham and Durbin have introduced federal Dream legislation. Hence, Catholic bishops continue to support the Dream Act.

Deaths in Smugglers’ Truck. We join in prayer with those mourning the deaths of nine people and injuries to others in a sealed truck in San Antonio as smugglers tried to bring them into the United States. “There are no words to convey the sadness, despair, and yes, even anger, we feel today at learning of the completely senseless deaths of nine people who died as human smuggling or trafficking victims from heat exhaustion and suffocation in San Antonio overnight,” Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller said July 23. “This is an incomprehensible tragedy.”

Jesuits Are Expanding Ministries to Immigrants and Refugees. Jesuits in the United States are developing a Campaign for Hospitality to reach out to U.S. and Canadian Jesuit universities, schools, parishes, ministries, retreat centers, communities. The goal is to engage people in the Jesuit family who may not normally participate in social justice initiatives, such as alumni of Jesuit schools, parents of students, and parishioners.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 192

Sorrow and Mourning Flee Away: Pastoral Letter on Migration to the People of God in the Diocese of El Paso. Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, Texas issued a passionate pastoral letter on immigration. Under Bishop Seitz, the Diocese of El Paso has generously responded to the needs of countless migrating brothers and sisters seeking safety, especially mothers and children. Please take time to read this excellent letter. This may be the single most extensive pastoral letter on immigration since the Catholic bishops of the United States and Mexico issued Strangers No Longer: Together on a Journey of Hope in 2003. (Note that Bishop Seitz’s letter is published in both English and Spanish on the El Paso diocesan website).

Administration Travel Ban. The Supreme Court continues the convoluted saga of the Administration travel ban on immigrants from six Muslim-majority countries. The travel ban went into effect June 29, 2017. It restricts travel from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, and limits all refugee admissions for 120 days. In June, the Supreme Court allowed the ban to take effect, but also allowed an exception for close relatives of U.S. citizens and refugees with direct connection to resettlement agencies. Contrary to the desires of the Administration, the Court continued the exception for close relatives, including grandparents. Then the entire case returned to the Court of Appeals for additional consideration. As a result, anyone affected by these administrative actions must contact a qualified immigration attorney for protection.

ICYMI – Refugees and Citizenship. With all the threats to immigrants and refugees, it may be time for those who are eligible to explore the possibilities of citizenship.