Category Archives: Federal Legislation

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 324

Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Litany of Loreto). Showing again his closeness and concern for migrating people, Pope Francis asked that the traditional Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also known as the Litany of Loreto, have three added invocations seeking Mary’s intercession under the titles “Mother of mercy,” “Mother of hope” and “Solace of migrants.”

How to integrate immigrants into your community. The Catholic Legal Immigration Network “believes that the most successful integration initiatives are local and seek input, buy-in and participation from a wide range of groups, individuals and institutions of both the receiving and newcomer community. This white paper will guide your organization through this process to help you design, implement, evaluate and reassess your integration initiatives while demonstrating how to actively promote integration in your community.”

Asylum seekers (a continuing story).  El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz crossed the border to Ciudad Juárez where he lamented his expectation that the “fundamental right to asylum here at the border really is effectively over.” Based on the current Administration policy of keeping asylum seekers in camps in Mexico as well as the recent Supreme Court decision denying court review of border patrol agent decisions regarding asylum seekers, the United States will no longer be open to persecuted refugees seeking asylum.

ICYMI – COVID-19 affects us all. Keep up to date with the latest information on testing and protection as it affects everyone, including migrant and refugee populations. Justice for Immigrants provides resources.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 317

What can DACA registrants do? As of today, the Supreme Court has not ruled on the question of whether the DACA program can be terminated by the current administration’s executive order, although it is expected to do so in the near future. In the meantime, what should those who are eligible do? Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. offers brief advice, but those who need to take action should act without delay.

Immigration law is complex. Don’t be misled! Notarios and other scammers still try to take advantage of those needing legal help, but they cause more damage that help. Qualified is available in Georgia.

World Day of Migrant and Refugees – September 27. The worldwide commemoration of migrants and refugees may seem a long way off, but Pope Francis has already issued his message for the day. This is a good time to reflect on the Holy Father’s words showing the Church’s broad concern for all vulnerable and displaced people.

Keep up to date. Justice for Immigrants offers current information delivered to your inbox. Sign up for their alerts today. It is simple. Go to http://justiceforimmigrants.org and scroll to the bottom of any page, then fill out the form. You will get action alerts, webinar updates and more!

Catholic bishops continue to advocate on behalf of migrant people. The coronavirus can affect anyone, but it can be particularly devastating for immigrant detainees and unaccompanied children in detention. Bishop Mario Dorsonville, on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has written to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security with suggestions for those vulnerable brothers and sisters.

ICYMI — It’s quick and easy. It’s not too late. It’s secure. Respond today. An accurate census is important for our future apportionment of legislative representation and allocation of social benefits. Everyone counts whether documented or not. Respond online.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 316

Welcome Archbishop Gregory Hartmayer! As bishop of Savannah, the new archbishop of Atlanta showed pastoral care for immigrants and refugees in south Georgia. He now brings that same care to north and central Georgia. In addition to his care of the local Church, Archbishop Hartmayer serves on the board of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. Ad Multos Annos!

What is DACA and why is a Supreme Court decision important? The Obama administration established the Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA) program by executive order to defer immigration enforcement against individuals brought to the United States at a young age with hope that Congress would soon establish a permanent immigration reform. The Trump administration attempted to end the program but federal courts prevented the administration’s action. The United States Supreme Court is expected to release a final determination that will affect the status of hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients as soon as this week and as late as the end of June. Read more background of this case here. Also, President John Garvey of Catholic University of America has expressed his opinion and support for DACA recipients.

Migration is about more than numbers. We have all seen statistics about migrants and refugees but behind every number there is a person and every person has a story. More than numbers, stories of real people draw the picture of migration in the United States and throughout the world. Justice for Immigrants gathers stories and shares them through its faces of migration webpage. Anyone with a story to tell can contact JFI through that page.

ICYMI –  It’s quick and easy. It’s not too late. It’s secure. Respond today. An accurate census is important for our future apportionment of legislative representation and allocation of social benefits. Everyone counts whether documented or not. Respond online.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 314

President issues declaration suspending entry of certain immigrants. On April 22, President Donald Trump issued a declaration suspending entry of specified immigrants for at least the next sixty days. There are a number of exemptions and exclusions, such as essential workers, including in health care, nuclear family members and temporary workers. Get a detailed summary of the declaration here.

CLINIC Chair Jaime Soto, Bishop of Sacramento, joined other USCCB committee chairs in decrying the proclamation, saying: “There is little evidence that immigrants take away jobs from citizens. Immigrants and citizens together are partners in reviving the nation’s economy. We must always remember that we are all sons and daughters of God joined together as one human family.”

U.S. citizens married to immigrants are not getting stimulus checks. The recently passed federal CARES Act provides for checks up to $1,200.00 to U.S citizens, but citizens married to immigrants who do not have social security numbers and their children do not get a check even though some of those immigrants are working in essential services.

Pray the rosary for migrating peoples. CLINIC offers an explanation of the rosary and invites Catholics and individuals of good will to join in praying the rosary with meditations related to migrants.

ICYM – Call your lawyer. If you are represented by an attorney, it is important to keep in touch. With so many changes due to social distancing and isolation, do not assume that an immigration court case will be postponed. Many immigration courts are open and rights can be lost if you fail to appear in the court as scheduled. Ask your lawyer when your case is scheduled.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 305

Faces of migration. Do you want true stories of migrating people to share in your community? Follow JFI on Twitter. You can also share your own story of migration. Migrating people are not statistics. They all have faces, names and personal histories.

Do you want an information hub about how to help for refugee childrenBridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services (BRYCS) aims to help families integrate into a new culture with a wealth of information and useful links. This is an indispensable tool box for refugee families and those helping them.

Deported to danger. What happens to those who are deported to El Salvador, especially those who are Salvadorians? Read this report from Human Rights Watch to understand the reality beyond the headlines.  

Do you really know what the new “public charge” rules mean to you? You may have heard of the new “public charge” rules, but do you understand them? Do you know how do they apply to you or people you work with? Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) provides a helpful page explaining the new rules. As always, consult an immigration attorney before taking any action that may affect your immigration status.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 304

Supreme court allows “Public Charge” rule to go into effect. The administration’s proposed “Public Charge” rule could preclude immigrants who lawfully receive public welfare benefits from obtaining citizenship. A federal court had prohibited the administration from implementing the rule until its legality could be adjudicated. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, has allowed the implementation of the rule even though not yet fully reviewed by a court. The bishop chairs of the USCCB committees on Domestic Justice and Human Development and Migration have expressed deep concern that this rule will deter families from seeking the food, medical care and other services they need. The bishops also urged those needing services to consult with service providers before refusing services. Read the full statement here.

“No More Deaths,” charity prevails. Members of the group “No More Deaths” were convicted in an Arizona federal court when they entered federal desert land to leave food and water for immigrants crossing the desert to enter the United States. The convictions were reversed, however, when the trespassers showed the court that they were acting out of sincerely held religious beliefs and that the government was not using the least intrusive remedy to protect government interests as required by the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Bishops oppose expanded travel bans. The administration has expanded travel restrictions to include those seeking to move to the United States from Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Eritrea, Burma and Kyrgyzstan. The chairs of several committees have opposed these additional bans as seriously detrimental to family unity. Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) has also registered it concerns.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 303

Church celebrates the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita on February 8. Celebrate the live of St. Josephine Bakhita, born in Sudan and trafficked as a slave until she arrived in Italy where she converted to the Catholic faith, obtained freedom and entered the convent. Following a life of faith, she died in 1947 and was canonized in 2000. Pray for all those subjected to forced immigration today.

Human trafficking in Georgia. The Kemp administration, with the support of First Lady Marty Kemp, will be introducing legislation to reduce labor and sex trafficking in Georgia. Be prepared to discuss the issues as they relate to immigrants and other vulnerable populations with this backgrounder from Justice for Immigrants.

Justice for Immigrants does not throw away important information. JFI produces high quality and informative webinars related to immigration. If you missed any, search in their archives.

ICYMI Executive order has been enjoined. The Executive Order 13888 prohibited the longstanding refugee resettlement program in any state where the governor failed to sign a declaration that allowed the federal program in that state to continue. All, but five governors (including Georgia Governor Brian Kemp), signed the declaration; however, whether the declaration is signed or not a federal court has temporarily prohibited implementation of the executive order and the resettlement program can continue, even in Georgia.

The USCCB provides more information. Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, welcomed the court ruling in that it supported the unification of families as a primary factor in initial resettlement.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 302

Georgia First Lady Marty Kemp and human trafficking. The Kemp Administration is raising the visibility of human trafficking in Georgia with several legislative proposals that will be publicly introduced in the next week. The Georgia Catholic Conference has supported legislation to reduce trafficking and to educate the vulnerable. Trafficking is a national and international issue. Read more background information prepared by the Justice for Immigrants campaign established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Another excellent resource for refugee services is provided by Bridging Refugee Children and Youth Services at https://brycs.org/.

Executive order has been enjoined. The Executive Order 13888 prohibited the longstanding refugee resettlement program in any state where the governor failed to sign a declaration that allowed the federal program in that state to continue. All, but five governors (including Georgia Governor Brian Kemp), signed the declaration; however, whether the declaration is signed or not a federal court has temporarily prohibited implementation of the executive order and the resettlement program can continue, even in Georgia.

The USCCB provides more information. Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, welcomed the court ruling in that it supported the unification of families as a primary factor in initial resettlement.

Show Hospitality to the Stranger. Speaking on the need for unity among Christians and all people, Pope Francis said that the gift of baptism “links and expands our hearts, and opens them to our neighbor, who is not an adversary but our beloved brother, our beloved sister.”

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 301

National Immigration Week was January 5 -10. While the official week is over, the need for solidarity and action remains. Bishop Mario Dorsonville, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington and Chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration, called on all “to prayerfully unite and live out the Holy Father’s vision to welcome immigrants and refugees into our communities and to provide opportunities that will help them and all people of good will to thrive.” Response to that call is needed throughout the year, not just for one week.  

Express Your Support for Refugee Resettlement in Georgia. On September 26, 2019, President Trump issued Executive Order 13888, which requires formal consent from a state governor and city mayor for continued refugee resettlement in Georgia. The written consent had been required by Friday, January 17. Governor Brian Kemp was one of a small handful of state governors who did not submit a consent. Nonetheless, a federal district court has issued an order prohibiting the implementation of this executive order. Thus, for the time being, the refugee resettlement program in Georgia can continue. It is still important to ask Governor Kemp to sign the necessary declaration. Email is the best way to contact the governor. The Catholic bishops of Georgia have written to Governor Kemp asking that he sign the declaration. For more information, click here.

Why (and How) Should We Advocate for Migrants, Asylum Seekers and Refugees? The Jesuits have an answer. Put your own credibility on the line. See http://jesuitmigrantsolidarity.org/

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. In addition, Saturday, February 8 is the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy. The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has designated that feast as a day of prayer and awareness of human trafficking, keeping in mind that migrants and refugees are particularly vulnerable to traffickers. Read more about how to honor this day here.

ICYMI – The Georgia General Assembly began its 2020 session on January 13. Please pray that legislators will act for the common good of everyone in Georgia and remember that the common good is not based on the desires of the majority. We must remember those on the margins. In theological terms, the common good is defined in Pope John XXIII’s encyclical Mater et Magistra (“On Christianity and Social Progress”) as “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.”

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 280

USCCB Migration Chairman Opposes Administration’s Deportation Plans. Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, issued a statement on behalf of the Catholic bishops of the United States opposing the Administration’s plans to round up and deport undocumented immigrants.

You Have Rights, Know Them! When you are approached by ICE or other law enforcement officers, it is important to know your rights. Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) has materials to help protect you and your family. Download and study the materials in a variety of languages before you need them.

Bishops Urge Administration to Increase Resettlement of Refugees. In the face of the biggest migratory crisis since World War II – 25 million refugees word-wide – the bishops of the United States are urging the United States to increase the number of refugees admissible to the country. The Presidential Determination for refugees has been set at an all-time low of 30,000 for the current fiscal year. For years, Catholic Charities Atlanta has successfully participated with the government in settling refugees in Georgia.

Housing Eligibility for Mixed Families. Justice for Immigrants is hosting a webinar next Thursday, June 27th on U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed Rulemaking which would restrict availability of housing for mixed families, that is, those where some members are lawfully present in the country and some who are not. Register for the webinar and find out more information here.

ICYMI – Learn More About Human Trafficking. The United States Department of State Council on Human Trafficking has released its 2019 annual report which is available for download here.