Executive Orders Related to Refugees. The Trump Administration still pursues a broad policy to prohibit refugees and other from entering the United States. While the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has temporarily blocked implementation of the executive order, the Administration will likely take additional steps against refugees and immigrants. Anyone who may be affected by the ban should seek legal counsel to make sure they have current information, especially with regard to travel outside the United States. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops welcomed the decision of the Ninth Circuit http://www.usccb.org/news/2017/17-036.cfm. The USCCB also expressed the solidarity of the bishops with all Christians and others suffering religious persecution in the Middle East http://www.usccb.org/news/2017/17-037.cfm.
ICE Enforcement Actions Increase. It is widely reported that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) has stepped up arrests of undocumented individuals, including those with no criminal history. http://jamiedupree.blog.ajc.com/2017/02/11/immigration-groups-on-alert-over-recent-reports-of-raids/ ; http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/what-to-know-about-recent-immigration-raids-in-us-cities/ar-AAmPImF?li=BBnb7Kz Please consider ways to protect yourself, your family and others in your parish. http://justiceforimmigrants.org/2016site/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Nine-Ways-to-Protect-Yourself-2.3.17-English-FINAL.pdf
Georgia General Assembly. With all the focus on policy activity in Washington, the Georgia General Assembly has had few significant bill affecting immigration. Nonetheless, on February 8, a committee of the House of Representatives added a provision to a bill that would require that driver licenses issued to non-citizens be marked “non-citizen.” (House Bill 136) The bill has still not passed both houses of the General Assembly but, if passed, the statement would apply to licenses issued to all non-citizens, including legal permanent residents (i.e. green card holders.)
Facts About Refugees. In the discussion about admitting refugees to the United States, there is much misinformation spread around. Take time to learn facts from Catholic Relief Services (CRS), an agency which works with refugees around the world. http://www.crs.org/media-center/11-things-you-may-not-know-about-refugees
Lobby Days Are Coming! Take the opportunity to join fellow Catholics in advocating Catholic social teaching at Catholic Day at the Capital in Atlanta. More detail and registration at https://archatl.com/events/2017-catholic-day-capitol/ Also, human trafficking is a plague that affect many in society, especially vulnerable populations such as immigrants and refugees. Join those opposing human trafficking at a General Assembly lobbying day on February 28. #LobbyDay2017
Catholic Charities Atlanta Response to Executive Order. See the response of Catholic Charities Atlanta to the executive orders related to immigration. https://catholiccharitiesatlanta.org/2017/01/27/supporting-refugees-immigrants/