Category Archives: Federal Legislation

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 332

Immigration requirements are complicated. Immigration policy and regulations are constantly changing. It is important that immigrants and refugees get help only from qualified attorneys or Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) representatives. Unfortunately, there are scammers who want to take advantage of those seeking help. Notarios cannot offer legal advice in the United States and cannot represent individuals in seeking immigration benefits. CLINIC offers resources to differentiate between those who are qualified and those who are not. Immigration applications are too important to allow anyone to be scammed. 

What does the Vatican say about human trafficking? Pope Francis has frequently spoken out against the horrors of human trafficking. The Vatican Office of Migrants and Refugees has issued “Pastoral Orientations on Human Trafficking,” a document with succinct explanations of trafficking practices and recommendations for pastoral responses. See additional thoughts here.   

ICYMI — What is needed to apply for DACA registration or renewal. Despite the Supreme Court ruling that the Department of Homeland Security had unlawfully tried to end the DACA program, the department continues to reject new applications for DACA registration, but it does accept renewal applications. See more detailed information here. Encourage those who are eligible for renewal to act quickly since changes are always a possibility. See also the DACA resource page from Justice for Immigrants.

Get more information from Justice for Immigrants. Go to http://justiceforimmigrants.org today and fill out the form at the bottom of the page to get the Week in Review, a series of updates on webinars and much more!

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 330

USCIS may come to a standstill. United States Customs and Immigration Service is the federal agency responsible for granting citizenship, providing immigration benefits and processing visa applications. The agency may have to furlough two-thirds of its workforce at the end of August, after negotiations over the next stimulus package stalled. Much of this agency is funded by service fees but with immigration and government activity reduced in this time of pandemic, many services and fees have been reduced to the point that congressional action is needed to appropriate funds. If the Congress does not act, there will be insufficient funding available to continue services. Read more here.

Another recommendation from JFI. Justice for Immigrants (JFI) and Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) offer resources for cultural orientation for refugee children, but JFI also suggests additional resources from Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services (BRYCS).  Especially as children head back to school, whether in-person or virtually, there is always a need for more information to ease that transition.

Writing a letter takes little effort, but it is invaluable to detainees. Immigrants in detention facilities feel abandoned and thirst for human contact. Jesuit Ministries provides a way to write letters of support to detainees. Scroll to the bottom of the page for instructions. While on that page, take time to read the stories of brothers and sisters caught in the immigration system.

ICYMI — This is meant for immigration lawyers… However, you can use it too. The Catholic Legal Immigration Network has developed a downloadable flyer to encourage participation in the census that is now being conducted. Share the information with any immigrant, documented or undocumented. Even if you do not have people coming to see you, this flyer can be attached to emails and other virtual communications. Participation in the census helps everyone.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 329

Immigration fees are increasing. The U.S. Department of Homeland security has issued a final rule increasing many fees for immigration related services by a weighted average of 20 percent. The rule also eliminates many exemptions which non-profit legal services have asserted on behalf of their clients. The increased fees will make it more difficult for low-income immigrants to obtain services. Many advocates, including Anna Gallagher, characterized the increase as a form of “wealth test for citizenship” and contrary to the dignity of immigrants. Read more here.

Have you missed a Justice for Immigrants (JFI) webinar? JFI presents valuable webinars. If you missed one or want to watch it again, you still have the opportunity. Visit their archives.

Are you looking for a good resource for Catholic social teaching and immigration? Justice for Immigrants has a good tool. Pope Francis is also focusing on Catholic social teaching as he begins a new series at his Wednesday general audiences.

This is meant for immigration lawyers… However, you can use it too. The Catholic Legal Immigration Network has developed a downloadable flyer to encourage participation in the census that is now being conducted. Share the information with any immigrant, documented or undocumented. Even if you do not have people coming to see you, this flyer can be attached to emails and other virtual communications. Participation in the census helps everyone.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 328

What is the status of DACA? After the Supreme Court ruled against the Administration attempt to end the Deferred Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, one would expect that eligible individuals could initiate applications and renewals of registration. However, the Administration has refused to follow the Supreme Court order and issued a memo with the effects indicated at this link. Bishop Jamie Soto, Chair of the Board at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., strongly criticized the announced policy calling it “irresponsible and recalcitrant” in the midst of a pandemic since “DHS is returning to the same callous posture, against which the court has already decided.”

Human trafficking. Calling human trafficking “an open wound on the body of contemporary society,” Pope Francis offered thanks to all those who work in opposition to the commodification of the human person. Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, called for prayers for those trafficked and for education so that all people see the horror of human trafficking which is an affront to the dignity of human persons.

Census workers are coming. Beginning, Saturday, August 1, census workers will be coming to homes, which have not completed census forms. It is important that residents of the United States (including lawful permanent residents, students and the undocumented) be included because the census numbers will be used in apportioning congressional and state legislative districts as well as many government benefits and grants. How do you know that the person at your door is a legitimate census worker? See this link to identify the census worker.

ICYMI – Keep up to date on changing immigration issues. Justice for Immigrants provides webinars, action alerts and more. Go to http://justiceforimmigrants.org and fill out the form at the bottom of any page today!

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 327

The Administration must re-start acceptance of DACA applications! The Supreme Court’s decision holding that the Administration did not act lawfully in trying to close the DACA program is only a temporary reprieve for DREAMERS because there are ways for the Administration to end the program. Nonetheless, until the Administration uses the proper procedures, the program must process applications and renewals. The Administration has tried to delay but has been ordered by the courts to take action immediately. See a discussion. Anyone who has been turned away should continue to insist on filing applications and renewals.

Less than a week until World Day Against Trafficking. Justice For Immigrants is offering a webinar next Thursday, July 30, to explore the human trafficking that plagues the world and especially affects vulnerable migrating people. Register today.

ICYMI — How to integrate immigrants into your community. 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.”

Keep up to date on changing immigration issues. Justice for Immigrants provides webinars, action alerts and more. Go to http://justiceforimmigrants.org and fill out the form at the bottom of any page today!

Always seek qualified assistance. Unfortunately, there are scammers who want to take advantage of people in trouble. Immigration law is complex. Whenever legal help is needed, avoid notarios or even lawyers who are not experienced in immigration law. Catholic Legal Immigration Network has resources to identify dangers.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 325

Welcome Bishop-elect Stephen Parkes to the State of Georgia, the Diocese of Savannah and the Georgia Catholic Conference. The bishops of Georgia constitute the Georgia Catholic Conference and we look forward to assisting Bishop-elect Parkes in his service to the people of south Georgia.

Less than a week to have your voice heard. Wednesday, July 15, is the deadline for public comments on the administration’s banning immigrants and visa seekers from entering the U.S. It is not just about protection against COVID-19. See an easy to use template for sending an email.

The DACA saga is not over. Although the Supreme Court would not approve the administration’s attempt to end the DACA program, the court left open the possibility that the administration could rectify the procedure it used to issue the attempted closure of the program. The administration has announced its intent to issue a new order that may comply with the supreme court’s order. The process will take time, but those who are eligible for DACA registration or renewal, should contact a qualified attorney to seek registration or renewal.

Pope Francis and Lampedusa. Pope Francis’ first trip outside Rome after his election was to Lampedusa, an arrival point for immigrants from Africa. The Holy Father has continued to demonstrate his concern for migrating people throughout his pontificate. He recently celebrated Mass remembering the seventh anniversary of that trip and continued his advocacy focusing on the humanity of all immigrants and refugees.  Ad multos annos, Pope Francis.

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.