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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Georgia Supreme Court Refused to Hear In-State Tuition Case. Without explanation, the Georgia Supreme Court will not review a Court of Appeals decision denying in-state tuition for DACA recipients. Thus, students in Georgia state colleges and universities will continue to pay higher out of state tuition in institutions that allow undocumented students to attend. An example of this policy with long term benefits is New Jersey, which has allowed in-state tuition for undocumented students since 2013 and has now adopted a law permitting increased financial aid for those students.
What Can I Do to Accompany Immigrants? Become active in your community. Resources are available from the U.S. bishops’ Justice for Immigrants Campaign.
Archbishop Gregory Responds to a Young Interviewer. In his most recent Georgia Bulletin column, Archbishop Gregory reflected on an interview by a young girl preparing for First Holy Communion. In his reflection of the value and dignity of all life, he wrote, “What she reminded me was that our love for all of God’s creatures must include even the people whom some folks might consider inconvenient, expendable and bothersome.” That is, those who are immigrants, prisoners and poor.
Archbishop Jose Gomez Speaks of Immigration Policy. Addressing the graduating class of the Catholic University of America, the archbishop of Los Angeles summarized his beliefs on immigrants saying, “We can still rely on the protection of divine Providence. We can still open our door with confidence to people who are yearning to breathe free. We can still practice a politics with malice toward none and charity for all. We are made for greater things.” Archbishop Gomez is an adult immigrant from Mexico.
ICYMI – Will DACA Continue, Allow Renewals or Accept New Applications? There have been court decisions related to DACA, but all media reports are not completely accurate. If you are DACA registered or want to be, consult a qualified attorney or non-profit legal provider. For a quick rundown of options, check out the diagram on the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) website
Catholic Bishops Support “Uniting and Securing America (USA) Act of 2017” (H.R. 4796). The USA Act is a bipartisan bill that offers a path to citizenship for DACA Dreamers and increases existing border security technology at the U.S./Mexico border. Read more on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) website. Also, Archbishop Jose Gomez explains the bill in light of the California experience.
Legislative Orientation Program (LOP) Funding Not “Paused.” LOP is a program funded by the Department of Justice so that non-profit grant recipients can provide an orientation on pertinent legal rights to new detainees in immigration detention centers. Catholic Charities Atlanta provides these services to Stewart, Ocilla and Atlanta detention centers. The Department of Justice initially proposed to “pause’ the funding this month, but after comments from a number of organizations, including a joint letter from a group of bishops, including Archbishop Gregory and Bishop Hartmayer, the Department reversed the decision and will continue the funding.
Will DACA Continue, Allow Renewals or Accept New Applications? There have been court decisions related to DACA, but all media reports are not completely accurate. If you are DACA registered or want to be, consult a qualified attorney or non-profit legal provider. For a quick rundown of options, check out the diagram on the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) website.
Catholic Bishops Continue to Speak Out in Support of Migrating People. Read or listen to the interview with Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, NJ. Among other things, the Cardinal, invoking principles of Catholic social teaching, said, “Certainly, the capricious nature of the laws and the enforcement of laws around immigration is an offense to human dignity. It is a wound to the common good.”
ICYMI – How Much Do You Want To Know About Immigration Law and Practice? The Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) provides many courses in a variety of formats for those who want to know more about immigration law. Visit the CLINIC website for a 90 minute presentation on the fundamentals of immigration law and a four part webinar series on family based immigration applications. For a complete introduction or more extensive information, plan to attend the CLINIC Annual Convening in Tucson, Arizona May 30 – June 1.