DACA Renewals Are Now Being Accepted! The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is now accepting applications for renewal of DACA registration, but we do not know for how long. Although the Trump Administration attempted to close down the DACA program, the federal district court issued an order requiring DHS to continue processing applications. Click here for more information from the National Immigration Law Center.
Catholic Leaders Speak Out for Countries Who Were Disparaged. Catholic leaders continue to stand up for the dignity of all people in the light of the Gospel. In his homily for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis said, “For the stranger, the migrant, the refugee, the asylum seeker and the displaced person, every door in a new land is also an opportunity encounter Jesus.”
Among many others, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops emphasized the humanity of people, speaking in context of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday; Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston wrote of the continuing need for civil discourse and respect for immigrants and refugees; and Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami continues to advocate for a path to residency and citizenship.
Happy New Year to all with prayers for a just resolution for immigration and refugee issues in the United States and throughout the world!
On World Day of Peace, Pope Francis Continues Support For Migrants and Refugees. “I wish once again to be the voice of these brothers and sisters who call for a horizon of peace for their future,” Pope Francis said in his midday Angelus address on New Year’s Day, a day on which the Church observes the World Day of Peace.
What About the Children? This is the important question asked by Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, Texas in an editorial supporting the need for extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for refugees from El Salvador. The bishop wrote of his personal experiences with refugees and migrants in his west Texas diocese. There are over 192,000 U. S. citizen children of Salvadorans who will be in jeopardy if their parents are not given an extension of TPS. On January 4, Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) and Church World Services delivered a letter signed by over 400 faith leaders to the Department of Homeland Security asking for an extension of TPS for these refugees.
National Migration Week: January 7 – 13. Following a tradition of nearly 50 years, National Migration Week is January 7 – 13. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) statement includes link to the ongoing “Share the Journey” campaign and references. Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone likewise wrote an article asking that the faithful learn Catholic teaching on human migration and take it to their hearts in action and prayer.
Update on “Share the Journey.” See what has been done so far around the country to follow Pope Francis with a webinar on January 11.
Bishop Hartmayer Urges Faithful to Contact Congress Members to Support DACA Registrants. Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer of Savannah encourages all to contact federal legislators. The bishop laid out good reasons for supporting legislation to help those currently protected by DACA. He concluded: “Take a few moments to write, call or email your elected officials to express your support for pending legislation that will resolve the status of these DACA protected young men and women. I have already done so. It will be in our best interest for Congress to respond in a manner that does not interrupt the education, employment and dreams of these young people who yearn for reasonable and effective immigration policy.” Click here to read his full statement.
What Happens When Parents Are Deported Without Their Children? It is difficult to contemplate at Christmas, but parents at risk of deportation must prepare legal protection of their children. Do not leave children in the care of the State. Visit supportkind.org for a family preparedness guide and other resources.
As We Contemplate the Journey of the Holy Family at Christmas, keep in prayer those in the United States and around the world who have become refugees and migrants during 2017.
ICYMI — Confused By Immigration Law? Immigration law is complex but Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) offers training at all levels. You won’t become an expert, but their fundamentals program can help beginners sort information.
Archbishop Gregory Suggests Contacting Members of Congress About DACA. In his most recent “What I Have Seen and Heard” column, Archbishop Gregory expressed his support for those who obtained protection under the Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA) program and encouraged everyone to contact federal legislators, urging them to act on this important issue. “[These Dreamers] deserve to be protected, allowed to continue making positive contributions to our nation, and finally, permitted to formalize their citizenship as Americans.”
Above All, Pray for the Dreamers. Contacting legislators is important, but remember to pray for the Dreamers. Pray for government officials – that they will see the human dignity of DACA recipients and enact laws that allow them to stay in the United States and flourish. Bishop Kevin Vann, chairman of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) board, shared an Advent prayer for Dreamers.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pray for Us. December 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a day of solidarity with immigrants and refugees. The USCCB Justice for Immigrants campaign website has excellent resources for the feast and Advent. CLINIC also has a guide to praying the rosary for the dignity and justice of our immigrant brothers and sisters.
ICYMI — Confused By Immigration Law? Immigration law is complex but CLINIC offers training at all levels. You won’t become an expert but their fundamentals program can help beginners sort information.
Share the Journey Continues. Several weeks ago, Archbishop Gregory gathered leaders of other faiths and faithful of the Archdiocese of Atlanta to inaugurate the “Share the Journey” campaign introduced by Pope Francis. This campaign will last for two years and focus on the humanity of migrants and refugees around the world. The USCCB Justice for Immigrants campaign has prepared an excellent toolkit to progress through Advent with migrants and refugees in mind. Click here to find useful ideas.
Pope Francis’ World Day of Peace Message. Following a fifty-year papal tradition, Pope Francis has issued a statement in advance of World Day of Peace (January 1, 2018). The Holy Father emphasized four “mileposts for action” necessary to allow migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and trafficking victims the opportunity to find peace; including welcoming them, protecting and defending “the inviolable dignity of those who flee,” promoting integral human development and integrating them into society. Doing so enriches both those arriving and those welcoming. Read the Holy Father’s statement about men and women in search of peace.
Confused By Immigration Law? Immigration law is complex, but Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) offers training at all levels. You won’t become an expert, but a fundamentals program can help sorting out information for beginners.
ICYMI – This is Not News for Many in Georgia, But ICE Enforcement is Increasing Here. The New York Times recently reported on increase immigration enforcement in Georgia. Under the current administration, any undocumented individuals are vulnerable to deportation, not just those with a significant criminal record.
Sanctuary Cities. A federal court has blocked a Trump Administration executive order to prohibit certain funds for local governments it deemed “sanctuary cities.” Georgia state law prohibits sanctuary cities and at least one candidate for governor is criticizing the level of compliance by the City of Decatur. The federal court order will not affect Georgia law – at least for now.
ICE Enforcement is Increasing in Georgia. The New York Times recently reported on increased immigration enforcement in Georgia. Under the current Administration, any undocumented individuals are vulnerable to deportation, not just those with a significant criminal record.
Administration Ends Temporary Protected Status for Haitians. See the response from Catholic Legal Immigration Network. While TPS holders have eighteen months to prepare for departure, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), who recently sponsored a factfinding mission to Haiti, responded that the country is not prepared to accept the huge influx of people. It is important to get reliable information. For guidance, contact the Haitian Embassy Hotline.
Why is Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Needed For Haitians in the United States? Read this report on why TPS should be extended. This decision will affect 50,000 living in the United States.
Thanksgiving for Immigrants and Refugees. In his Thanksgiving message on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, president of the USCCB, gave thanks for the blessings brought by immigrants and refugees. At the same time, he expressed the bishops’ continuing concern that the nation’s broken immigration system tears apart families – “the fundamental building block of our society.”
USCCB Annual Assembly Discusses Migration Issues. The United States bishops met in Baltimore to discuss a variety of important issues facing the Church. The needs of immigrants and refugees held a prominent place as reported from numerous sources. In his address as president of the USCCB, Galveston-Houston Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said, “The forces of division prey on our fear of the unfamiliar, the different. But fear is not of God.” He continued, “Pro-life immigration policy is one that does not tear families apart.” The Cardinal also expressed support for young immigrants known by their advocates as Dreamers. Click here to read more.
Why is Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Needed for Haitians in the United States? The Administration has yet to act on the extension of TPS for Haitians lawfully living in the United States. Read this report on why TPS should be extended. The decision will affect 50,000 people living in the United States.
Administration Ends Central American Minors (CAM) Program. The Trump Administration has ended refugee processing in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala for those who apply for U.S. entry through the Central American Minors program, which allowed some parents legally present in the U.S. to request a refugee resettlement interview for their children and other family members. “This decision of the administration unnecessarily casts aside a proven and safe alternative to irregular and dangerous migration for Central American children,” said Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin, head of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Migration. Terminating the entire program will “neither promote safety for these children nor help our government regulate migration,” he said Nov. 9.
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 email@example.com.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) For Haitians. Why do the Catholic bishops of the United States and other organizations advocate so strongly for TPS for Haitians? In summary, the administration should make decisions based on current country conditions in TPS-designated countries. In Haiti’s case, this includes a thorough review of the impact of September 2017’s Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The administration should honor the Haitian government’s request to extend TPS for Haiti at least 18 months and accept the Haitian government’s invitation to survey conditions in Haiti prior to the November 23, 2017 decision deadline. Congress should act swiftly to create a permanent solution to protect Haitian and other TPS holders who have been in the U.S. because their countries have been unsafe for many years. Click here for a detailed report from Catholic Legal Immigration Network.
ICYMI – New Resource for Family Preparedness. There is a new legal preparedness guide available in English and Spanish to assist families preparing for the possibility that a parent will suddenly be threatened with deportation. This guide contains useful information for undocumented individuals and those helping them.
Jesuits Call On Graduates to Support DACA. Noting that ten percent of the members of Congress were educated at Jesuit colleges and universities, and even more at Jesuit high schools; Fr. Michael Sheeran, President of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, reminds former students that “responsible citizenship” and the “obligation to respect and protect the natural rights of other human beings” were core elements of their Jesuit educational experience. Highlighting an iconic phrase in Jesuit educational circles, he challenged legislators, saying, “Republican, Democrat, on this issue be a man or woman for others.”
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) from Honduras, El Salvador and Haiti. Archbishop Wilton Gregory has issued a statement requesting that President Trump extend temporary protected status (TPS) related to Honduras, El Salvador and Haiti for 180 days. Currently, there are approximately 237,000 refugees from those countries in the United States. The report from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to which the Archbishop referred in his statement can be read in full here. These are the reasons why extended TPS is important, particularly for Hondurans living in the United States.
New Resource for Family Preparedness. There is a new legal preparedness guide available in English and Spanish to assist families in preparing for the possibility that a parent will suddenly be threatened with deportation. This guide contains useful information for undocumented individuals and those helping them.
Training Information From Catholic Charities Atlanta. 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 16th at 10 am. This training is aimed at helping 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 the call and lead refugee advocacy efforts for your parish. Those who wish to participate may RSVP to Hope Jensen from CRSA: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In-State Tuition for DACA Students. The Georgia Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court decision that would have allow DACA students to pay significantly lower tuition at state colleges and universities. The plaintiffs will appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court.