Tag Archives: Immigration

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 289

Archbishop Wilton Gregory. From Washington, DC, Archbishop Gregory continues to speak out in opposition to the Administration detaining families and children at the southern border in a statement issued in conjunction with a procession of over 400 Catholic people in Newark, NJ, led by Cardinal Joseph Tobin. Archbishop Gregory pointed out more humane methods for keeping track of people apprehended by ICE. 

How Can This Be A Surprise? A government report recently informed that migrating children separated from their parents display serious mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress syndrome. Since the Administration instituted its “zero tolerance” policy, over 2500 children have been separated from their parents.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) Update. TPS is a life-saving immigration status that allows foreign nationals to remain in the U.S. if during the time they were in the U.S. something catastrophic happened in their country of origin preventing their safe return – for example war, famine, natural disaster, or epidemic. TPS allows people to work legally and be protected from deportation. Similarly, DED allows foreign nationals to be protected from deportation and have the opportunity to work. DED is granted through the president’s foreign relations power.  See a summary of pertinent information for TPS and DED. Information changes frequently so it is important for affected individuals and representatives to check regularly.

ICYMI – Rapid Response to Potential Raids. Do not forget the CLINIC Rapid Response Toolkit to help protect your family.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 288

The Administration continues to chip away at eliminating or reducing programs to which immigrants are lawfully entitled. Anyone relying on these programs needs to remain vigilant.

Deferred Action Relief. The Administration has changed the process for various types of non-military “deferred action,” a temporary relief from deportation for immigrants facing special and often life-threatening circumstances. This policy shift, which occurred without public notice, places vulnerable individuals at risk of deportation and even death; violates principles of fundamental fairness; and will deter many families from pursuing vital immigration relief. Note that this change does not affect specially identified programs, including Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA) or the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). For more details, please click here.

“U” Visa Processing. Witnesses to serious crimes are eligible for a “U” Visa to keep them available to prosecutors who need their testimony. The Administration has changed policy that would allow those witnesses to avoid deportation while the application for the visa is pending. The new policy would now allow deportation while that application is pending. As a result of the change, undocumented immigrants are less likely to report crimes or assist law enforcement officers for fear of deportation.

Public Charge Rules. The Administration has proposed amended regulations that will make it much more difficult for those who were seeking citizenship or lawful permanent residency if they need or are likely to need public assistance. CLINIC and other advocacy groups have filed suit seeking a ban on the changes. “No one should have to choose between seeking citizenship or feeding their family.”

Rapid Response to Potential Raids. Do not forget the CLINIC Rapid Response Toolkit to help protect your family.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 287

Flores Settlement Agreement. In 1997, after twelve years of litigation, the federal government reached an agreement with public interest parties representing immigrant children in detention to limit the time minor children could be incarcerated and provided for their safe delivery to parents or caretakers. The Trump administration has now issued regulations to effectively dissolve the settlement and allow unaccompanied children to remain incarcerated longer. The USCCB and other agencies have spoken out against these changes that hurt children. See the recent statement from Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, chair of the Committee on Migration where he condemns these new rules. Multiple faith leaders expressed similar opposition, including the Catholic Legal Immigration Network.

The Immigration Law is Complex – Don’t Do It Alone. Choosing a qualified immigration lawyer is important because your immigration status depends on it. The vast majority of immigrants and refugees find better results when they are properly represented. Here are guidelines to help find the legal advocate you need.

What is the “Remain in Mexico” policy and why is It Important? You have heard the discussions of the policy which has left thousands of migrants camping in northern Mexico for months. In this article, learn more about it and the reasons for opposing this policy.

ICYMI – Want More In-depth Information on Immigration Topics? The Immigration law is complex, but Justice for Immigrants offers webinars to explain the issues. If you missed a webinar or want to hear it again, JFI maintains a library of past webinars for later viewing.

ICYMI — Your Rights!  The ICE raids in Mississippi demonstrate the importance of preparation. The CLINIC Rapid Response toolkit provides important resources for anyone who may be in danger of detention. Study the materials before you need them! https://cliniclegal.org/resources/know-your-rights  

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 286

What Are the Bishops Speaking Out On? The Catholic bishops watch the signs of these turbulent times and are speaking out.

Harmful Rhetoric: Elected officials must exert leadership in seeking to heal the wounds that shootings have caused and deal with the scourges of racism, xenophobia, and religious bigotry, including refraining from expressing hurtful, painful, and divisive rhetoric that dehumanizes and polarizes people on the basis of their race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin. 

Asylum Rule:  A proposed rule related to asylum seekers would turn our back on the vast majority of asylum seekers, requiring them to apply for protection in almost any other country through which they transit, leaving access to U.S. asylum exceptionally rare. Not only do we believe that this rule is unlawful, but it also jeopardizes the safety of vulnerable individuals and families fleeing persecution and threatens family unity. Further, the rule undermines our nation’s tradition of being a global leader providing and being a catalyst for others to provide humanitarian protection to those in need.

Public Charge Rule: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Charities USA have submitted comments in opposition to a proposed federal rules that would limit the ability of persons seeking lawful residency or citizenship if they access public benefits even if they are legally entitled to those benefits. “Families already in the U.S. will be faced with deciding whether to access critical assistance programs for which they qualify, knowing that in doing so they could jeopardize their ability to stay here with their loved ones.”  

Want More In-depth Information on Immigration Topics? Immigration law is complex but Justice for Immigrants offers webinars to explain the issues. Even if you missed a webinar or want to hear it again, JFI maintains a library of past webinars for later viewing.

ICYMI — Your Rights!  The ICE raids in Mississippi demonstrate the importance of preparation. The CLINIC Rapid Response toolkit provides important resources for anyone who may be in danger of detention. Study the materials before you need them.  https://cliniclegal.org/resources/know-your-rights

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 285

Your Rights!  The ICE raids in Mississippi demonstrate the importance of preparation. The CLINIC Rapid Response toolkit provides important resources for anyone who may be in danger of detention. Study the materials before you need them! https://cliniclegal.org/resources/know-your-rights  

USCCB Chairs Call for Change in Language and Rhetoric of All Americans. On August 8, 2019, the chairs of the bishops’ Committee on Migration,  Committee on Domestic Social Development, and the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, issued a statement expressing their deep concern about the racism and xenophobia that apparently motivated the massacre in El Paso. The bishops lamented the tragic loss of life, which “demonstrates that hate-filled rhetoric and ideas can become the motivation for some to commit acts of violence.” They further called on “all to act swiftly to stop using hate-filled language that demeans and divides us and motivates some to such horrific violence.” And, instead, asked “our leaders and all Americans to work to unite us as a great, diverse, and welcoming people.” Read the full statement here.

Aid For Migrants at the U.S. Mexico border.  Bishop Mark J. Seitz of the Diocese of El Paso and HOPE Border Institute have announced the launch of “Border Refugee Assistance Fund to Aid Migrants at the US-Mexico Border.” Thousands of migrants, mostly from Central America, are currently stranded in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, across the border from El Paso, TX. These migrants have been returned to Ciudad Juárez as a result of the Migration Protection Protocols, commonly known as Remain in Mexico.

Grants from the fund will be used to support the initiatives and shelters providing for the immediate humanitarian needs of migrants in Ciudad Juárez, the majority of which have been organized by faith communities. More details and information on how to donate to the fund may be found at the Diocese of El Paso’s webpage.  

Asylum Policy Affecting Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Blocked By Court. A federal district court has issued atemporary restraining order to protect the rights of thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children seeking asylum. The court order blocks the government’s implementation of a policy that would significantly limit vital protections for children under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). The suit was filed by CLINIC and four other organizations on behalf of the affected children.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 284

Your Rights! For the past three weeks, this report has included links to important web pages which explain the legal rights of individuals who are questioned by a law enforcement officer. The report has also linked to pages that are useful in preparing for the possibility of deportation. Please continue to refer to these pages before the need arises.

Attitude Is Important. In his Angelus reflection, Pope Francis reminds us that hospitality requires an attitude of service and contemplation toward individual or toward migrating peoples in our midst. In contemplation and service, we share the joy of Christ’s presence.

Catholic Day of Action. On July 18, members of various Catholic religious orders, lay affiliates and others participated in a day of action at the Capitol in Washington to demonstrate against the continued detention of immigrant children. Approximately 80 participants were arrested when they refused to leave, including religious sisters and a Jesuit scholastic.

Refugee Resettlement. In response to reports that the Administration may eliminate the acceptance of any refugees for the next fiscal year, Bishop Joe S. Vasquez has issued a statement on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops saying that elimination of the resettlement program violates our national principles at a time when the number of displaced persons worldwide is exploding. Refugees admitted to the United States are subjected to an extensive vetting process that can take 12 to 18 months.

ICYMI – Immigrant Advocates Go to Court. Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), Public Counsel, and Goodwin Procter LLP go to court on behalf of the plaintiffs, who arrived in the United States as children, unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian. The lawsuit seeks class-action status and a temporary restraining order, blocking implementation of the Administration policy, which would limit the protections given child immigrants under federal law.

In another case, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a suit to prohibit the mass raids scheduled by the Administration until each of the individuals proposed for deportation has had the opportunity for an impartial hearing.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 283

As I write this report, it does not appear that the anticipated ICE raids have occurred in Atlanta; however, the following information is still important for legal protection in the event of any future encounters with ICE or law enforcement personnel.

You Have Rights! Do Not Panic But Be Prepared! The following information has been included in previous reports but bears repeating in light of threats of deportation and continuing raids.

When you need information quickly, look at the CLINIC Rapid Response Toolkit.

Justice for Immigrants campaign has collected valuable educational resources on its website to help prepare for the possibility that an individual will be approached by an immigration or law enforcement officer. The website helps to know your rights, prepare families and connect with community resources.

Download and study these materials from CLINIC in a variety of languages before you need them https://catholicsentinel.org/Content/Default/Homepage-Rotator/Article/As-immigration-policy-changes-so-does-work-of-Catholic-organizations/-3/382/38022

Share these materials and links with parishioners who may need them or who are working with immigrant communities.

Immigrant Advocates Go to Court. Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), Kids In Need of Defense (KIND), Public Counsel, and Goodwin Procter LLP go to court on behalf of the plaintiffs, who arrived in the United States as children, unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian. The lawsuit seeks class-action status and a temporary restraining order, blocking implementation of the Administration policy, which would limit the protections given child immigrants under federal law.

In another case, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit to prohibit the mass raids scheduled by the Administration until each of the individuals proposed for deportation has had the opportunity for an impartial hearing.

Pope Francis. On July 7, Pope Francis celebrated Mass with immigrants and refugees remembering the sixth anniversary of his pastoral visit to Lampedusa. The Holy Father emphasized the humanity of all migrating people, especially those crossing deserts.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 282

President Trump continues to talk about widespread immigration raids and there is fear in the community.

Do Not Panic But Be Prepared! Justice for Immigrants campaign has collected valuable educational resources on its website to help prepare for the possibility that an individual will be approached by an immigration or law enforcement officer. The website helps to know your rights, prepare families and connect with community resources. 

Download and study these materials from  CLINIC in a variety of languages before you need them. https://catholicsentinel.org/Content/Default/Homepage-Rotator/Article/As-immigration-policy-changes-so-does-work-of-Catholic-organizations/-3/382/38022

Share these materials and links with parishioners who may need them or who are working with immigrant communities.

Asylum Seekers. Continuing to reflect on the tragic deaths of Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his daughter in the Rio Grande, Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange, California and board chair of CLINIC joins his brother bishops in reminding us that seeking asylum is a legal process and asking that the Congress and Administration approve funds for humanitarian relief at the southern border. 

ICYMI – Do Not Forget About DACA Renewals! Those who have been registered in the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program may still seek renewal of their registrations. The Administration is still seeking Court approval for ending the program and the Supreme Court will hear argument on the continued viability of the program in the fall of this year or the spring of 2020. Those who can renew now should do so as soon as possible in case the Court ends or modifies DACA.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 281

It is difficult, if not impossible to adequately review the public activity related to migrants and refugees during the past week. Who can forget the heartbreaking picture of Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria, lying face down in the Rio Grande River? With the Administration threatening, recanting then threatening again to round up immigrants, hold them in detention centers and deport them, how do people of faith respond? What response can the Catholic community to these events?

Do Not Panic But Be Prepared! When approached by ICE or other law enforcement officers, it is important to know your rights. Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) has materials to help protect you and your family. Download and study the materials in a variety of languages before you need them. Share them with fellow parishioners.

Catholic Reactions to Drownings. Pope Francis was “profoundly saddened” by the deaths of father and daughter. USCCB president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo and Migration Committee chair Bishop Joe Vasquez said, “This image cries to heaven for justice.”   

Bishop Mark Seitz responded with a statement and by personally escorting asylum seekers across the International Bridge in El Paso, Texas.

Catholic Agencies Reach Out to Migrants. Catholic agencies, including USCCB Migration Services, Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) and Catholic Charities, have redoubled their services to migrants.

Do Not Forget About DACA Renewals! Those who have been registered in the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program may still seek renewal of their registrations. The Administration is still seeking Court approval for ending the program and the Supreme Court will hear argument on the continued viability of the program in the fall of this year or the spring of 2020. Those who can renew now should do so as soon as possible in case the Court ends or modifies DACA.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 280

USCCB Migration Chairman Opposes Administration’s Deportation Plans. Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of Austin, Texas, issued a statement on behalf of the Catholic bishops of the United States opposing the Administration’s plans to round up and deport undocumented immigrants.

You Have Rights, Know Them! When you are approached by ICE or other law enforcement officers, it is important to know your rights. Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) has materials to help protect you and your family. Download and study the materials in a variety of languages before you need them.

Bishops Urge Administration to Increase Resettlement of Refugees. In the face of the biggest migratory crisis since World War II – 25 million refugees word-wide – the bishops of the United States are urging the United States to increase the number of refugees admissible to the country. The Presidential Determination for refugees has been set at an all-time low of 30,000 for the current fiscal year. For years, Catholic Charities Atlanta has successfully participated with the government in settling refugees in Georgia.

Housing Eligibility for Mixed Families. Justice for Immigrants is hosting a webinar next Thursday, June 27th on U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed Rulemaking which would restrict availability of housing for mixed families, that is, those where some members are lawfully present in the country and some who are not. Register for the webinar and find out more information here.

ICYMI – Learn More About Human Trafficking. The United States Department of State Council on Human Trafficking has released its 2019 annual report which is available for download here.