Category Archives: Federal Legislation

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. 266

National Emergency: Caring for Migrants. Bishops from Mexico and the United States as well as other interested parties gathered in El Paso, Texas, to discuss ways to support asylum seekers on both sides of the border, particularly in light of the Administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. Read about the meeting.

Bishop Mark Seitz lamented the loss of life in the desert. “The desert speaks, because on this land has fallen the blood of many who are trying to pass to find a dignified life, and we can hear the shouts of land telling us that our policies have consequences.” 

More Than 500 Interfaith Groups Oppose the “Remain in Mexico” Policy. CLINIC and Church World Service delivered a letter on behalf of the diverse groups, which opposes the policy that requires asylum seekers to remain in Mexico until claims can be considered. The policy creates greater risk for the asylum seekers. 

There are Still Infants Detained in Dilly, Texas. Despite opposing claims, there are still infants and mothers in the Homeland Security detention facility in Dilly, Texas. Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) along with other legal advocacy groups have written a letter to the Department of Homeland Security demanding release of those mothers and children as required by federal law.

Number of Undocumented in U.S. is Declining. According to the Center for Migration Studies, the number of undocumented in the United States is declining. Read the executive summary of points with a link to the full report.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 265

Causes of Mass Migration are Not Simple. Explore the reasons behind mass migration by participating in a webinar from Justice for Immigrants – “Tackling Root Causes: Mass Migration at Its Source.” Thursday, February 28th at 2:00 p.m.

Do You Work with Newcomer Families? Justice for Immigrants recommends a great handbook and other resources from Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services.

Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus. After two years of discernment, the Jesuits have announced four major preferences to guide their apostolic endeavors for the next ten years. Those preferences include “walking alongside the poor, marginalized, excluded and those who the world considers worthless in a ministry of reconciliation justice.” Read more online and reflect on how you can unite with them in prayer, if nothing else. Pope Francis, himself a Jesuit, finds Christ in refugees and migrants and exhorts all to do the same. Read more from Catholic News Service.

ICYMI – Myths of Immigration. As with most controversial issues, there are many myths related to immigration – jumping ahead of the line, high crime, taking jobs and more. See the facts from the Jesuits. The Jesuit Refugee Service calls on policymakers for compassion and recognition of the human dignity of asylum seekers.   

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 264

Pope Francis Speaks of Fear. Speaking at a conference about ways to help migrants and refugees, the Holy Father relied on scriptural teaching to emphasize freedom from fear when interacting with others. Follow the Pope’s teaching by encountering others and be freed from fear.

Join Pope Francis in Praying for Victims of Human Trafficking, Prostitution and Violence. Each month, Pope Francis suggests a prayer intention. For February 2019, the Holy Father asks us to pray “for a generous welcome of the victims of human trafficking, of enforced prostitution, and of violence.” Watch Pope Francis address this intention.

Bishops Speak in Opposition to Funding the Wall on U.S. – Mexico Border. On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said, “We remain steadfast and resolute in the vision articulated by Pope Francis that at this time we need to be building bridges and not walls.” The bishops of the border dioceses expressed similar opposition.

What is So Bad About the “Remain in Mexico” Policy? The Administration continues to create difficulties for those seeking asylum, a right guaranteed by U.S. federal law. The most recent change in policy sends asylum seekers back across the Mexican border to await processing in dangerous conditions. See an analysis by Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC). Click here to send a message to the Department of Homeland Security.

Georgia General Assembly is Now in Session. Human trafficking is a plague in Georgia and preys on vulnerable young people, especially those who fear standing up for themselves. Over the last several years, the General Assembly has considered and enacted laws to curtail trafficking and open treatment for survivors. This session, House Bill 234 proposes additional steps in facilitating prosecution of traffickers and providing protection for survivors.

New Americans Celebration. More than three hundred people visited the Georgia State capitol to learn about refugees and ask legislators to be advocates for them. Representatives of the Georgia Catholic Conference, Catholic Charities Atlanta and the Archdiocesan Office of Life, Disabilities and Justice joined in the crowd, which made an impact on state senators and representatives. Click here to view images on Twitter.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 262

There is Still Time to Renew DACA Registration. The U.S Supreme Court has delayed hearing the Administration’s challenge to DACA. For those who want to renew their DACA registration, there is still time to submit a renewal application. As always, consult a qualified immigration attorney.

National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. January was the designated month, but the needs are still there. In February is the feast of St. Josephine Bakita, who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy. As Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, former Chairman of the Committee on Migration has stated, “On [February 8th] we will lift our voices loudly in prayer, hope and love for trafficking victims and survivors. If just one person realizes from this day that they or someone they know is being trafficked, we will have made a difference.” View the toolkit for ways to combat trafficking.

An Interesting Fact, But to What Effect? According to Pew Research, at least 13% of new Congress lawmakers are immigrants or the children of immigrants. Whether these legislators will impact immigration reform in the next two years has yet to be seen. 

World Youth Day. The weeklong celebration in Panama has finished, but the blessings will continue. Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso discussed the benefits of bringing together youth from all over the world to share their faith.

Fordham University Professor is Preparing a Graduate Class on Theology and Migration. A New York professor is preparing to teach classes using Christian mystical texts to explore theology at the border. Read the story of the professor’s journey from El Salvador to California, and to a Trappist monastery to academia.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 261

Migration Policy and Human Trafficking. The more difficult we make it for people to move, the more likely they are to be trafficked,” said Canadian Jesuit and Vatican expert Father Michael Czerny. How can this not be surprising? The Church supports those who have been trafficked and migrating.

ICYMI – St. Josephine Bakhita. St. Josephine Bakhita was sold into slavery at an early age, but was later freed and served God in religious life. She died in 1947 and was canonized in 2000. Her feast day is February 8. Click here to see her icon and prayer card.

Don’t Forget to Register For New Americans Day at the Georgia State Capitol. Click here for more information and registration. This is a good opportunity to share Catholic teaching.

Lawsuit Filed Over Prolonged Detention of Children. With everything else filling the media, detained children fall into the background. However, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and others have joined a class action on behalf of the more than 10,000 children currently being held by the Trump administration in detention centers across the country. Jeanne Atkinson, Executive Director of CLINIC stated, “We cannot allow this administration to continue to intentionally keep children away from their families, it is immoral and inhumane.” The full statement and links to the briefs are available online.

U.S. Bishops and the “Federal Shutdown.” The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) President, along with Chairman of Bishops’ Migration Committee issued a statement urging the President and lawmakers to end the shutdown. It also stated that the Administration’s proposal for temporary relief for DACA and TPS recipients was not sufficient. DACA and TPS recipients need a path to permanent relief. Furthermore, legislation should not increase the burdens on those seeking asylum.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 259

The Wall, Asylum and All That. It would be impossible – and, for purposes of this report, a waste of time – to summarize all the developments related to the federal government shut down and the proposed wall on the southern border. Nonetheless, there are several Catholic social issues to consider. Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin, Texas, on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), stated, “Secure borders and humane treatment of those fleeing persecution and seeking a better life are not mutually exclusive. The United States can ensure both and must do so without instilling fear or sowing hatred.” The Jesuit Office of Ecology and Justice explored myths about asylum seekers.

Humanitarian Assistance at the US / Mexican Border and the Catholic Response. What is the Catholic Church doing at the border? Find out through a webinar sponsored by Justice for Immigrants, USCCB Migration and Refugee Service and others on Wednesday, January 30. You can login online or dial in at (267) 279-9000. The passcode: 648174#.

See the Toolkit for National Slavery and Human Trafficking Month. January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Month. February 8, the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita, is an annual day of prayer and awareness against human trafficking. The USCCB Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) has issued a 2019 toolkit to educate Catholics. For more information and to get involved, email MRSTraff@usccb.org. Also, please also be on the lookout for an invitation to an event celebrating St. Josephine Bakhita!

ICYMI – Remember Unaccompanied Children in Prayer. Immigrant children who are not living with their parents or other relatives need all types of support. We can all give them our prayers. This prayer can help you get started.

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. 233

ICYMI – Considering Citizenship? Are you thinking of filing paperwork to become a US citizen or know someone who is? The Atlanta New Americans Campaign is holding FREE citizenship clinics at THREE different locations throughout the Atlanta Metro Area on Saturday, June 23! Click here for more information and registration.

Separating Families at the Border – Catholic Bishops Take a Strong Stand. While the Administration continues separating parents and children seeking asylum in the United States, Catholic bishops, individually and collectively, at their General Assembly meeting in Fort Lauderdale spoke against such policies.

The bishops spent considerable time discussing immigration policy in general, but the separation of children from parents is outrageous. It would be difficult to collect all the individual statements, but several suffice from the bishops whose dioceses are the most impacted. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and archbishop of Galveston-Houston spoke to the issue in his opening address. Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso and the diocesan commission on migration issued a statement highlighting the evils derived from the separation policy. Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston denounced use of children as pawns in political negotiations.

Domestic Violence and Fear of Gang Violence is No Longer Sufficient for Asylum. Attorney General Sessions recently changed a longstanding policy – domestic and gang violence no longer qualifies an asylum seeker. Click here to read more. Cardinal DiNardo, president of the USCCB, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego and others have denounced this change. Read more from America Magazine and Twitter. Catholic Legal Immigration Network and other faith-based groups also expressed their opposition.