Category Archives: Federal Legislation

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 208

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Developments. On November 6, the United States Homeland Security (DHS) canceled immigration benefits for nearly 5,300 Nicaraguan nationals who are in the United States, but extended benefits for 86,000 Hondurans. The Trump Administration gave Nicaraguan TPS recipients 12 months after the country designation’s end date to arrange their affairs and either leave the country or obtain legal status through a different visa category. Now, Nicaraguans under TPS will be allowed to remain and work in the country until January 5, 2019. Since the Administration did not make a determination on Honduras’s TPS designation, it is automatically extended by six months, and will now expire on July 5, 2018. Click here for more information.

After January 5, 2019, Nicaraguan TPS beneficiaries who stay in the United States and do not get a different visa will revert to their previous immigration status. The large majority of the affected beneficiaries, if not all, would become undocumented. Both Honduran and Nicaraguan TPS holders should seek legal advice from competent immigration attorneys as soon as possible to protect themselves and their families. Parishes should also seek ways to give pastoral support to families in their midst.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians. The Administration has not made a decision on TPS for Haitians and it has until November 23, 2018 to do so. This decision will affect 50,000 people living in the United States.

Resources from CLINIC Regarding Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Click here to read more information and concerns from Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) regarding TPS for Nicaraguans and Hondurans. CLINIC also has more information on all TPS holders.

ICYMI – Training for Parish Leaders. The Coalition of Refugee Service Agencies (CRSA), of which Catholic Charities Atlanta is a member, is hosting an advocacy training for faith partners on November 16 at 10:00 a.m. This training will help faith leaders learn more about the recent executive orders affecting refugees and how to best advocate for our refugee communities and the agencies who serve them. The training will be virtual (via a conference call) with materials provided by email. Please help us identify a leader to participate in this training and lead refugee advocacy efforts for your parish. Please RSVP to Hope Jensen from CRSA at civicengagementintern@newamericanpathways.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 205

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) from Honduras or El Salvador. For those with TPS from Honduras or El Salvador, it is important to watch developments. TPS is projected to end in early 2018 but could be extended. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has produced a report advocating extension of the 2018 deadline.  This is why continued TPS is important for Hondurans living in the United States.

How Can a Parish Help. Parishes can be a resource for engaging immigrant people in their midst. Look at what a parish can do here. You can also find ways to involve Catholic school students and college age students.

#ShareJourney Is Here!  Read the Georgia Bulletin article on the initiation of the Holy Father’s “Share the Journey Campaign”, which describes the gathering led by Archbishop Gregory with a group of interfaith leaders and refugees.

ICYMI – Know Your Rights – In Seven Languages! Whether documented or not, immigrants have legal rights. The Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) has helpful information in seven languages.

 

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 199

“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” or DACA Has Been Rescinded. It is now widely known that the DACA program is being rescinded by the Trump Administration. Many Catholic and other leaders, including Archbishop Gregory and Bishop Hartmayer, have expressed their regret at the decision.

This Weekly Report is intended to share with all priests, brothers, sisters and others throughout the Archdiocese of Atlanta and Diocese of Savannah information related to the changing immigration landscape. This series of reports that began over four years ago, highlights support for immigrants from all countries expressed by Pope Francis and Catholic leaders, including our own bishops. We will continue to provide links to reliable information and websites that offer not only encouragement, but also practical information for all who are assisting immigrants.

DACA Resources. Information (and hysteria) about the recession of DACA is flooding the internet. Anyone whose status is affected by the Administration’s decision is well advised to consider their options carefully, especially in conjunction with an immigration lawyer. Options depend on an individual’s current status. Click here for a summary of options for multiple statuses. Those who may be eligible for renewal in the near future should pay particular attention to the October 5, 2017 deadline for renewal filing.

Catholic Charities Atlanta provides immigration legal services. More information is available on their website. Catholic Charities will conduct a DACA renewal assistance clinic at their Northlake Office (2305 Parklake Drive, Suite 150, Atlanta, GA 30345) from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 23rd.

Active Advocacy. While Dreamers must take action to protect their individual status, everyone can advocate for change to benefit the common good. Legislative action is needed. To help, contact the White House, your congressional representatives, the governor and state legislators. Visit this website for important talking points related to legislation supported by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and other immigration groups. The USCCB Justice for Immigrants campaign has also published additional ideas for effective advocacy.

Deportation is a Possibility for Some. Be Prepared to Protect Family Members! We cannot ignore the possibility that some, whether Dreamers or others, will face deportation. Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), sponsored by the USCCB for over twenty-five years, has prepared state forms to help protect children and other family members if parents or caregivers are suddenly deported. The USCCB Justice for Immigrants campaign has also produced good community engagements resources. Parish leaders might be interested in these ten suggestions to help undocumented immigrants.

Share the Journey.  On September 27, 2017, the Holy Father will launch a Caritas-led campaign, “Share the Journey,” which is aimed at increasing support and solidarity for immigrants and refugees. This campaign will be international; and in the United States, will be coordinated by Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services, and several offices in the USCCB. They will focus on a variety of important topics, including the Church’s engagement with immigrants and refugees, Catholic social teaching on migration, and the need to address the root causes that drive migration. The “Share the Journey” campaign will run for years.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 197

Pope Francis Offers Important Concrete Points Related to Refugees. Pope Francis has released his statement in anticipation of next year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees, originally established by Pope St. Pius X. More than just a call for dialogue, the pope offered a series of concrete proposals for world leaders to consider when drafting two forthcoming United Nations’ agreements. The Holy Father made it clear that the collective and arbitrary expulsion of migrants and refugees does not resolve the world’s immigrant crisis.

U.S. Bishops Continue Their Concern for Immigrants. Catholic bishops across the country continue to speak against unjust proposals related to immigrants and refugees. The California Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote against legislation that would ease deportations that divide families and support legislation that balances the need for security with the protection of human dignity.   

“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” or DACA. The DACA program has allowed legal protection for 600,000-800,000 young people brought into the United States as children. The Trump administration still considers ending the program, but Catholic bishops continue to advocate in support of the program.

ICYMI – If You Read Nothing Else About Race and Immigration, read Archbishop Gregory’s interview with CRUX. Immigration and the race problem are really two sides of the same coin – whether the United States wants to be one, inclusive country or not. As Archbishop Gregory explained, “If we think that we can solve this (immigration) problem simply by focusing on race, we will leave the head of this dragon unaffected.”

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 193

DREAM ACT / DACA. In all the discussion about the Administration’s approach to those the government has given DACA registration status, it is important to remember that DACA was always intended as a temporary remedy for young people brought to the United States as children. Legislation is necessary for permanent status. While advocating for comprehensive immigration as a long-range goal, the Dream Act would give immeasurable help to those who were brought to this country as children. Senators Graham and Durbin have introduced federal Dream legislation. Hence, Catholic bishops continue to support the Dream Act.

Deaths in Smugglers’ Truck. We join in prayer with those mourning the deaths of nine people and injuries to others in a sealed truck in San Antonio as smugglers tried to bring them into the United States. “There are no words to convey the sadness, despair, and yes, even anger, we feel today at learning of the completely senseless deaths of nine people who died as human smuggling or trafficking victims from heat exhaustion and suffocation in San Antonio overnight,” Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller said July 23. “This is an incomprehensible tragedy.”

Jesuits Are Expanding Ministries to Immigrants and Refugees. Jesuits in the United States are developing a Campaign for Hospitality to reach out to U.S. and Canadian Jesuit universities, schools, parishes, ministries, retreat centers, communities. The goal is to engage people in the Jesuit family who may not normally participate in social justice initiatives, such as alumni of Jesuit schools, parents of students, and parishioners.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 192

Sorrow and Mourning Flee Away: Pastoral Letter on Migration to the People of God in the Diocese of El Paso. Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, Texas issued a passionate pastoral letter on immigration. Under Bishop Seitz, the Diocese of El Paso has generously responded to the needs of countless migrating brothers and sisters seeking safety, especially mothers and children. Please take time to read this excellent letter. This may be the single most extensive pastoral letter on immigration since the Catholic bishops of the United States and Mexico issued Strangers No Longer: Together on a Journey of Hope in 2003. (Note that Bishop Seitz’s letter is published in both English and Spanish on the El Paso diocesan website).

Administration Travel Ban. The Supreme Court continues the convoluted saga of the Administration travel ban on immigrants from six Muslim-majority countries. The travel ban went into effect June 29, 2017. It restricts travel from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, and limits all refugee admissions for 120 days. In June, the Supreme Court allowed the ban to take effect, but also allowed an exception for close relatives of U.S. citizens and refugees with direct connection to resettlement agencies. Contrary to the desires of the Administration, the Court continued the exception for close relatives, including grandparents. Then the entire case returned to the Court of Appeals for additional consideration. As a result, anyone affected by these administrative actions must contact a qualified immigration attorney for protection.

ICYMI – Refugees and Citizenship. With all the threats to immigrants and refugees, it may be time for those who are eligible to explore the possibilities of citizenship.

 

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 190

Hearings Required Before Minors Can Be Detained. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in an important decision opposed by the Administration, has ruled that minor children have a right to a hearing before an independent judge before they can be placed in a detention facility. Read more here.

Supreme Court Temporarily Upheld Part of Administration Travel Ban. The United States Supreme Court will hear arguments on the travel ban issued by the Administration in the fall of 2017 but, until it reaches a final decision, the Court permits entry of refugees “who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” This means that the executive order’s prohibition on entry into the United States may not be applied to people with “bona fide” connections to the United States. Refugees who can establish such ties are not subject to the entry ban even if the total number of refugees exceeds the 50,000 annual limit that the executive order had imposed. However, all others from the six listed countries and refugees who do not have such connections to the United States are subject to the temporary travel ban. See a discussion of the major points relevant to those affected here. As always, those who may be affected should consult a qualified immigration attorney with their individual situation.

KNOW YOUR REFUGEE RIGHTS: “BE PREPARED, NOT SCARED” Refugees, immigrants and all others should be aware of their rights when dealing with the government officials. CLINIC and Justice for Immigrants publishes these guides to help.  JFI promises that more aids are coming in additional languages.

New Americans Campaign in Atlanta. Atlanta has the second fastest-growing immigrant population in the country, after Baltimore and thirteen percent of Atlanta immigrants are eligible to apply for citizenship, according to Luisa Cardona, deputy director of immigrant affairs for the Atlanta Mayor’s Office. Yet many eligible immigrants here have not taken that step. In response, a group of local community organizations has joined the nonpartisan national network New Americans Campaign with a common goal: to support as many immigrants and refugees as they can to become U.S. citizens. Read more about the campaign and opportunities to explore citizenship possibilities here.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 188

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians. The Trump Administration has extended temporary protected status for Haitians for six months (until January 2018) but re-registration is required. If you are currently registered for TPS or work with those having this status, please remind them to re-register before July 24. Click here for details.

CLINIC Masses. While Catholic Immigration Network (CLINIC) employs advocates without discrimination and offers services to all, Catholic identity is important. This year, Archbishop Gregory celebrated Mass on the first day for participants during its annual convening held in Atlanta. Father Rey Pineda from the Cathedral of Christ the King celebrated Mass on the second day.

Refugee Ban. In the ongoing struggle over the Trump Administration ban on refugees from certain countries, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond issued an order continuing the prohibition on implementation of the executive order. The order will likely be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court; but at this time, the executive order is not in effect.

Number of Permissible Refugees. Shortly after taking office, the Trump Administration lowered the annual number of refugees that would be permitted to enter the United States from 110,000 to 50,000. The State Department has quietly changed the reduction so that as many as 70,000 refugees may be admitted by end of the fiscal year in September.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 187

Naturalization Applications Increase.  U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) reports that it has received an unprecedented number of naturalization applications in the last 12 months, totaling more than 971,000 in FY 2016 (compared with 738,000 in FY 2015).  The agency’s ability to process naturalization applications has been complicated by technological issues and the introduction of higher filing fees. Despite reported complications and processing delays, interest in naturalization remains high. By the end of 2016, almost 637,000 applications were pending before the agency, compared to almost 389,000 in 2015.

El Refugio at Stewart Detention Center. El Refugio is a ministry of hospitality offered to families of individuals detained in the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia. El Refugio was recently saddened by the death of a young man the volunteers attempted to assist. If you want to know more about El Refugio or are willing to assist the ministry, find out more on their website.

Cardinal Tobin Speaks in Support of Immigrants. Cardinal Joseph Tobin, archbishop of Newark, NJ, continues to speak out against unjust immigration policies and challenges all to see immigrants as they are, and not as distorted stereotypes.

ICYMI – Why Support Extension of Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for Haitians in the United States? Political and religious leaders continue to ask the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to extend temporary protective status (TPS) for Haitians who have fled to the United States because of devastation in Haiti following the earthquake in 2011 and Hurricane Matthew in 2014. The moral case for this position is set forth in a letter from religious leaders and organizations, including Catholic Legal Immigration network (CLINIC) and Catholic Charities offices from many dioceses. Take a few minutes to register your beliefs with the Department of Homeland Security.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 186

Why Support Extension of Temporary Protective Status (TPS) for Haitians in the United State? Political and religious leaders continue to ask the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to extend temporary protective status (TPS) for Haitians who have fled to the United States because of the devastation in Haiti following the earthquake in 2011 and Hurricane Matthew in 2014. The moral case for this position is set forth in a letter from religious leaders and organizations, including Catholic Legal Immigration network (CLINIC) and Catholic Charities from many dioceses. Take a few minutes to register your beliefs with the Department of Homeland Security.

Increasing Immigration Enforcement. It is no secret that the Administration is increasing the emphasis of prosecution on those seen as violating immigration law. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently released a memorandum outlining laws that may be used against violators. More detailed training is available in a CLINIC webinar.

ICYMI – CLINIC CONVENING. Anyone (particularly legal service providers) interested in learning more about immigration law or further developing skills, is encouraged to investigate the Catholic Legal Immigration Network annual convening, which will be held in Atlanta on May 24 – 26 at the Westin Peachtree Plaza. This is an extraordinary event for all skill and interest levels.