Category Archives: News

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 237

More on Bishops at the Border. Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, Pennsylvania, was among the bishops who journeyed to Brownsville, Texas last week to visit those in detention. Read his reflection, culminating with the statement, “Yes, we want to protect our country. I want to protect it too, but I don’t ever want this country to lose what has made it so great and wonderful: that it has shown compassion to so many people.”

It Is Not Just Talk. Catholic organizations have pleaded on behalf of children separated at the border and reached out to reunite families. The family is the basis of Catholic social teaching.

Migration and Human Trafficking Are Related. Refugees fleeing dangerous conditions in their home country are vulnerable to human trafficking. Undocumented people who are afraid to contact law enforcement are equally defenseless. Learn what the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is doing about human trafficking and the SHEPHERD program.

Asylum Seekers at the Border Have the Right to Personal Case Review.  Contrary to administration arguments, those seeking asylum in the United States have a right to individual cases reviews and a right to be freed pending resolution, according to a federal case ruling. Representatives of the USCCB have applauded the ruling.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 236

Bishops at the Border. Led by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, a delegation of bishops visited Brownsville, Texas and Mexico to see and report on migrants crossing the border. The bishops called for urgent reunification of families, but said there were no villains in his difficult situation.

In a press conference afterwards, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville said, “I want to emphasize that we can be a nation of laws and still be a nation of compassion. That is what we, as a church need to keep saying in the public square. There is no reason why those have to be opposed.” The bishops emphasized that it is not just a border issue but a hemispheric reality that calls for greater understanding of what is forcing people to leave their homes and move. For pictures, view the Justice for Immigrants Twitter account.

Clarkston on Today. The Today Show reported on the diversity in Clarkston, Georgia – home to many cultures. Catholic Charities Atlanta, among others have worked to resettle refugees in the town with southern hospitality.

Pope Francis On Migration and Lampedusa. Meditating on the words of the Prophet Amos, Pope Francis lamented the many poor who are “victims of that culture of waste that has been denounced time and time again,” including “migrants and refugees who continue to knock at the door of nations that enjoy greater prosperity.”

The Holy Father also commemorated his first journey outside of the Vatican after becoming pope when he visited Lampedusa, Italy, to express his solidarity with migrating peoples, a continuing theme of his papacy.

ICYMI- Archbishop Gregory’s Statement on Immigration Policy. On June 29, Archbishop Gregory issued a statement related to the crisis of families separated at the U.S./Mexico border. The unnecessary separation of children from parents and the detention of children is contrary to our values rooted in Catholic social teaching.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 235

Archbishop Gregory Issues Statement Responding to Families Separated at the Border. On June 29, Archbishop Gregory issued a statement related to the crisis of families separated at the U.S. / Mexico border. The unnecessary separation of children from parents and the detention of children is contrary to our values rooted in Catholic social teaching.

Family Separation at the Border. There is continuing concern for families and children detained at the border. A delegation of bishops is going to the border on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and will likely send a report within the next week.

Why Do People Risk Their Lives to Come to the United States? Click here for an important answer to this common question.

Supreme Court Upholds Travel Ban. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the lawfulness of the administration’s ban on immigrants and others coming from certain Muslim countries. Catholic bishops and others groups have expressed their disappointment with the ruling as it conflicts with freedom of religion.

ICYMI – Resources on Family Separation. For background and resources on family detention and separation, visit the Justice for Immigrants website.

Immigration Reform Legislation. Again, on June 27, the House of Representatives failed to pass a “compromise” bill on immigration. The bill would have provided some relief to DACA recipients, but would also have authorized $25 million for a wall on the southern border. USCCB had opposed the bill as an insufficient solution to the problem. There will likely be no other attempt at immigration legislation until the fall.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 234

Family Separation at the Border. The President defused some of the rage over the administration’s implementation of a policy separating children from parents at the southern border, but issues remain. Religious leaders from many faiths, including Pope Francis, spoke out against the policy. Significant questions regarding the policy changes remain, particularly regarding the fate of children already in detention and the possibility of extended family detention.

Immigration Reform Legislation. Congress has again tried to adopt some form of immigration reform legislation, but based on the analysis by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, neither of the bills considered by the House of Representatives on June 21 were adequate to address the problems. One bill was defeated on the House floor and the second postponed until this week.

 

 

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. 231

It is Pentecost – Speak with One Voice. Pope Francis has called on all of us to “Share the Journey” with migrants and refugees. Add your voice by asking Congress members to support refugee funding and protect lifesaving foreign aid for refugees around the world today. Click here for more information and learn how to contact your representatives.

ICYMI – World Refugee Day is Coming. June 20, 2018 is a day to remember and take action for refugees. See the USCCB toolkit for helpful ideas.

New USCIS Criteria Related to Residency Requirements. If you or someone you know is considering applying for citizenship, check with a qualified attorney to understand new rules related to children born out of wedlock.

Zero Tolerance at Border Splits Families. Catholic social teaching is based on the dignity of every human being and the importance of integrated family life. Read about how the administration policy contradicts that teaching.

Note: The next report will be on June 11 due to the CLINIC Convening in Tucson, Arizona next week.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 230

Support for USA Act. On April 26, 2018, Bishop Joe Vasquez, on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), wrote a letter to members of Congress supporting the Act as a balanced approach to the immigration system, including relief for DREAMERS. Contact your Congress member to add your support.

Human Trafficking is an Immigration Issue. Human trafficking is a growing plague. Traffickers target vulnerable and undocumented people – some of the most vulnerable in our society. For more information, review the toolkit for National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Also, follow the efforts of the USCCB through the Trafficking Victim Assistance Program.

World Refugee Day is Coming. June 20, 2018 is a day to remember and take action for refugees. See the USCCB toolkit for helpful ideas.

Pro Family? Family Separation? Learn more about the effects of separating family members and children through an informative webinar from Justice for Immigrants.

ICYMI – What Can I Do to Accompany Immigrants? Become active in your community. Resources are available from the USCCB Justice for Immigrants Campaign.

Election Do’s and Don’ts

With statewide and local elections approaching, please remember to engage in productive civil discourse in your parish, personal writings and in social media, including memes. 

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)’s guidelines state: 

“Parishes and other IRS-designated section 501(c)(3) church organizations are prohibited from participating in political campaign activity. Thus, certain political activities that are entirely appropriate for individuals may not be undertaken by church organizations or their representatives.” 

“Do not endorse or oppose candidates, political parties, or groups of candidates, or take any action that reasonably could be construed as endorsement or opposition.”

That is, neither the Church nor anyone speaking on behalf of the Catholic Church or its agencies may support or oppose any candidate or political party, but the Church may address the moral aspect of political issues.

The following Do’s and Don’ts should be followed in all parishes within the Archdiocese of Atlanta:

DO:

  • Address the moral and human dimensions of public issues.
  • Share church teaching on human life, human rights, justice and peace.
  • Allow distribution only of political literature that is approved and issued by the USCCB.

DO NOT:

  • Endorse or oppose candidates for political office.
  • Allow distribution of political literature on parish property or under church auspices.
  • Arrange for groups to work for a candidate for public office.
  • Invite only selected candidates to address your church-sponsored group.
  • Distribute a biased candidate survey.

For more information, please visit the USCCB website.

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).