Category Archives: Federal Legislation

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.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 232

Considering Citizenship? Are you thinking of filing the 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.

What Happened at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network’s 2018 Convening? Check out the highlights on the CLINIC Twitter account. Even if you do not follow everything, the breadth and depth of the workshops show the importance of using qualified immigration attorneys in immigration cases.

Separating Families at the Border. The Administration has expanded the practice of separating parents and children seeking asylum in the United States to discourage asylum seekers. Catholic bishops have spoken against such policies. “Children are not instruments of deterrence but a blessing from God” said Bishop Joe Vasquez, Bishop of Austin and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration. Click here to read more.

One Catholic Response at the Border. During the Convening last week, Kevin Vann, CLINIC Chair and Bishop of Orange, California, joined several people in crossing into Mexico to support families waiting to make their case for asylum. As children have a unique perspective, one of them drew a picture of Bishop Vann, complete with hat, glasses, pectoral cross and, most important, heart. See the artwork online.

CLINIC Does the Work of the Church. Sponsored and supported by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), CLINIC is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Read a perspective of the organization’s impact on many people from National Catholic Reporter.

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. 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.

 

 

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 220

Citizenship Clinic. Do you or someone you know qualify for naturalized citizenship? Check out the Free Citizenship Clinic on February 24.

Comprehensive Program on Immigration Legal Issues. Are you interested in an in depth program on legal issues related to immigration? Early bird reduced pricing is available for the annual Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) Convening in Tucson, AZ,  May 30 – June 1, 2018.

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

It is Not About a Chain; It is About Families. Despite the rhetoric from Washington, family unification is at the heart of an immigration policy that will build America. Read a message from Most Reverend José Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles and Vice President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Share the Journey. Pope Francis initiated the Share the Journey campaign last September, but it not too late to participate. Learn how to get involved online.

ICYMI — Know Your Rights. With all the reports of raids and deportations, it is important that everyone know their legal rights. See resources on the CLINIC website.

 

 

 

 

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 219

Know Your Rights. With all the reports of raids and deportations, it is important to know your legal rights. Resources are available on the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) website.

Did You Miss the Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita? St. Josephine Bakhita was born in Sudan and trafficked as a slave multiple times until she ended up in Italy. Later, she gained her freedom and became a religious sister. She was canonized in 2000. Learn more about human trafficking and suggestions for action by visiting the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Migration and Refugee Service website.

Catholic Social Ministry Gathering and Immigration. Over 500 people attended the 2018 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering (CSMG) in Washington, DC, including representatives from Georgia. Service to immigrant populations was the theme of the first day, headlined by a keynote address from Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo of Seattle and a video address from Pope Francis. Click here for more information.

Another Priest is Relying on DACA. Fr. Felipe González of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida came to the United State with his parents at age 11. He was ordained in 2016 because he could rely on DACA status, but may now be threatened with deportation if Congress does not adopt legislation to help.