Category Archives: News

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 200

The 200th Report. Unbelievable as it seems, this is the 200th Comprehensive Immigration Report from the Georgia Catholic Conference! This report began to help parishes and others in Georgia with the expectation of comprehensive immigration reform from the federal government. That reform has not come, but the need to help immigrants and refugees remains. Please keep all in your prayers and look for ways to help our brothers and sisters. We will continue to provide information that supports our Catholic teaching and suggest resources for practical assistance.

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

Be Prepared to Protect Family Members! In the wake of the Trump Administration’s rescission of the DACA program, rumors continue to swirl – both good that legislation is forthcoming, and bad that deportations will increase. Take time TODAY to prepare or help others prepare for the possibility of a sudden departure.

How Can You Help? The USCCB Justice for Immigrants campaign has produced community engagement resources. Parish leaders may also be interested in these ten suggestions for helping undocumented immigrants.

ICYMI – 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 two years.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 198

“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” or DACA Has Been Rescinded. The DACA program has allowed legal protection for nearly one million young people brought into the country as children. At 11:00 this morning, the Trump Administration announced that the DACA program is being rescinded. The Department of Homeland Security will begin a wind down process, which was not made public at the time of this report. Individuals who have been registered under DACA and their families should be encouraged to follow legal developments and seek advice from immigration attorneys.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory Issued a Statement Expressing His Profound Regret at the Decision to Rescind DACA. Upon the announcement of the Trump Administration’s rescission of DACA, Archbishop Gregory expressed his profound regret. At the same time, he encouraged Congress to compassionately and generously reform the nation’s immigration system and expressed his assurance that the Catholic Church in Georgia would continue its care for DACA youth and their families. The full statement is available on The Georgia Bulletin website. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and other bishops throughout the United States have issued similar statements.

If Arpaio Can Be Pardoned, Why Not Immigrants with Irregular Documentation? Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami asks this question that others ask as well. Archbishop Wenski writes, “The president [pardoned] Sheriff Arpaio. Congress should ‘pardon’ irregular immigrants by passing comprehensive immigration reform.”

ICYMI – 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 which was originally established by Pope St. Pius X. More than just a call for dialogue, the pope offers 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.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 196

If You Read Nothing Else About Race and Immigration, please read Archbishop Gregory’s interview with CRUX. Immigration and racism are 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.”

Proposed Anti-DACA Lawsuit. Ten state attorney generals (not including Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr) are threatening to file a law suit demanding the end of the DACA program if the Administration does not begin dismantling it. As with all lawsuits, it is difficult to predict the outcome. But the attorney generals have set a September 5 deadline for the Administration’s response. Catholic leaders continue to speak out supporting the social and individual benefits of DACA.

Pope Francis and U.S. Bishops Continue to Share Their Concern for Immigrants. Pope Francis continues to highlight the importance of assisting migrants throughout the world. In addition to Archbishop Gregory, bishops around the United States continue to speak out, and have a particular concern for protecting families in light of apparent tactics to deport individuals who work to contribute to society and have no criminal background. Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso supported the mother of a cancer-stricken eight year old threatened with deportation. Supporting immigrants is a Gospel imperative according to Bishop Mark Seitz. “I don’t think those (anti-immigrant) elements are to be found in the dumbed-down Gospel that’s out and about today,” he said.

ICYMI – What More Can I Do? Pope Francis Is Leading the Way. 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 in scope. In the United States, this campaign will be coordinated by Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services and several offices at the USCCB. It 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 is expected to run for two years. Click here for more details.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 195

How To Teach Young People About Immigration. Children hear about immigrants and refugees from the media and other sources. Here is a resource for teaching them from a more balanced perspective.

Interested in State Immigration Legislation Around the Country? Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) is providing a mid-year roundup of State legislative activity. Join the webinar.

Bishops Reflect on Immigration in Light of the Gospel and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange, California, reflected on how the Gospel and the Catechism call us to generosity as he celebrated with 100,000 Vietnamese pilgrims in Carthage, Missouri. Bishop Vann lamented the proposed reduction in allowable immigrants to the United States. The Catholic bishops of the United States have also spoken against the reductions as well as other provisions of the RAISE Act proposal. Read more here.

Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA) Anniversary. DACA marks its fifth anniversary on August 15, 2017. Despite calls for ending the program, which has helped over 800,000 young people to contribute to our society, many experts continue to see it as an important program that benefits America in many ways. In addition, the Catholic bishops of the United States continue their support of the DACA program.

ICYMI – What More Can I Do? Pope Francis Is Leading the Way. 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 in scope and, in the United States, will be coordinated by Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services, and several offices at the USCCB. It 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 is expected to run for a two-year period. See more here.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 194

What More Can I Do? Pope Francis Is Leading the Way. 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 in scope. In the United States, this effort will be coordinated by Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Service, and several offices at the USCCB. It 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 is expected to run for a two-year period. Click here for more information.

Bishops Oppose Recently Introduced RAISE Act. Senator David Perdue of Georgia, supported by President Trump and others, introduced the federal RAISE Act in Congress. The USCCB released a statement against this legislation, explaining, “The RAISE Act would have our nation turn its back on this long tradition of welcoming families setting out to build a better life.” If passed, the bill would replace the current process for obtaining legal permanent residency (green cards), creating a skills-based point system for employment visas. The bill would also eliminate the preference for U.S. residents’ extended and adult family members, while maintaining priority for their spouses and minor children. The bill would slash immigration by 41% in the legislation’s first year, and 50% in its 10th, would cut the number of refugees in half and eliminate a program that provides visas to people from countries with low rates of immigration. Click here for more information on the bill.

ICYMI – 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.

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. 191

Bishops continue to speak against anti-immigrant policies. Read Bishop Mark Seitz reflection on the Gospel response to those who want to deport DACA registrants.

Reports from Washington Suggest More Anti-immigrant Policies May Be On the Horizon. Federal legislation and policy changes are hard to predict and many predictions – good or bad – do not happen. Administration leaders are talking about the possibility of ending or further reducing the scope of DACA registrations. Nevertheless, reports are creating concern. There is opposition to legal immigration, as well. Read more here. President Trump sends mixed messages on the subject of DACA. It is not a time for panic but those questioning their options should seek competent legal assistance.

Refugees and Citizenship. With all the threats to immigrants and refugees, many are eligible for citizenship and this may be time to explore those possibilities.

Courts Restrict Deportation of Iraqis. As the Administration works to deport Iraqis, one court has temporarily halted deportations so that the matter can be studied more closely. More details here.

ICYMI – 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 guides to help.  JFI promises that more aids are coming in additional languages.

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. 189

ICYMI – 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.

Free Citizenship Clinic. Do you know a lawful permanent resident who could become a citizen and exercise all citizenship rights? The Consulate General of Mexico is offering a free clinic on Saturday, June 17th from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. at the Consulate General of Mexico, 1700 Chantilly Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30324. Contact the Consulate for more information.

Catholic Church Leaders Speak Out.  Catholic bishops continue to speak on the moral dimensions of immigration and the need for compassion. Read this article for more details.

Supreme Court Appeal. While the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has continued prohibition against enforcement of the Administration’s travel ban, the Trump Administration has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.