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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
USCCB Supports Family Based Immigration Policies. “Chain migration” has become a derogatory description for the United States’ longstanding policy of supporting unification of migrating families. Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, welcomed the Administration’s recent proposal to include a path to citizenship for Dreamers, but was deeply troubled by proposed cuts to family immigration and elimination of protections to unaccompanied children. He quoted Pope Francis, “the family is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation.” Click here to see this explanatory article from America magazine. It is important to get out the true story of immigration. Please share this information from the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) about how to counter anti-immigrant narratives.
Haitians With Temporary Protected Status Are in Legal Limbo. The Administration is terminating temporary protected status (TPS) for Haitians, but their country is still devastated. Read the interview with Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, an advocate for Haitian people.
Syrians Receive Partial Extension of Temporary Protected Status. Open warfare continues in Syria. Syrians living in the United States have been given temporary protected status, but that protection must continue. See the report from CLINIC.
ICYMI — What Do Those With Temporary Protected Status Need to Know? Whether you are inquiring for yourself or someone you know, CLINIC provides comprehensive information online. Nonetheless, in such an important and complex area, advice from competent immigration legal counsel is essential.
DACA and the Federal Government Shutdown. The federal government shutdown ended after three days, but the issues related to immigration, especially DACA, remain for future resolution. Please pay attention to the media as events evolve, particularly if you or your fellow parishioners are personally affected by proposed legislative activity.
Syrians Need Extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Open warfare continues in Syria. Syrians living in the United States have been given temporary protected status, but it must continue. Read the report from Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC).
What Do Those With Temporary Protected Status Need To Know? Whether you are inquiring for yourself or someone you know, CLINIC provides comprehensive information on their website. Nonetheless, in such an important and complex area, advice from competent immigration legal counsel is essential.
How To Advocate For TPS. Visit the CLINIC website for information related to temporary protected status. Advocacy points for parish leaders and a quick guide are available.
Father Rey Pineda – DACA Recipient. He is one of us and one with us. Father Rey Pineda, parochial vicar at the Cathedral of Christ the King, has been the subject of several articles as a recipient of immigration protection under the Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA) program. See recent articles from the AJC and Washington Post.
ICYMI – National Migration Week is Over, But Needs Remain. National
Migration Week was January 7 to 14, but we still need to share the journeys of
others. Pope Francis initiated the “Share the Journey” campaign as a two-year
program. Stay current with the issues and find ways to participate. Information on
National Migration Week is still available online.
DACA and the Federal Government Shutdown. As of this writing, the federal government is in shutdown mode and the proposed DACA legislation is reputed to be the main sticking point. Follow the media for any changes.
National Migration Week Is Over, But Needs Remain. National Migration Week was January 7 to 14, but we still need to share the journeys of others. Pope Francis initiated the “Share the Journey” campaign as a two-year program. Stay current with the issues and find ways to participate. Information on National Migration week is still available online.
Pope Francis Calls on Unseen Warriors. Pope Francis called on “unseen warriors” – cloistered contemplative religious – to pray in a spirit of missionary prayer for those engaged in direct outreach to the poor, suffering and marginalized. Even those of us who do not live in a cloister must keep a spirit of prayer for all migrating peoples, particularly those in the United States during this time of political turmoil related to immigration policy.
Advocating For Immigrants and Refugees. Learn what you can do to support immigrants and refugees by attending the Catholic Charities USA webinar on Tuesday, January 23.
Georgia General Assembly Has Completed Six of Its Forty Legislative Days. As usual, the first few weeks of the General Assembly have shown little public activity. Nonetheless, we expect the tempo to pick up. Two areas of prospective legislative activity include restricting driver licenses for non U.S. citizens and a constitutional amendment requiring all state documents be written only in English.