Can You Walk 24,900 Miles (All the Way Around the World)? Can you walk part of the way? As part of Pope Francis’ “Share the Journey” campaign, thousands of Catholics are organizing and walking in pilgrimages, which we hope will amount to 24,900 miles – the circumference of the world. Learn how you can get involved by viewing the organizer toolkit. If you cannot formally join a group, please keep migrants and refugees in mind and prayer whenever you walk.
Time to Vote. Elected officials make immigration laws that affect all of us. The Church cannot support or oppose political candidates, but all citizens should be attentive to political platforms to vote responsibly and prudently. The general election will be November 6, 2018. All voters must be registered by October 9, 2018. Don’t miss the opportunity to have an impact on our future.
ICYMI – Why is Human Trafficking So Prevalent? Learn about factors that have allowed this modern day slavery to become the fastest growing source of illicit profit for criminals worldwide and a $150 billion industry.
Comprehensive Immigration Reform? For years, advocates sought “comprehensive” immigration reform. Now, discussion seems to revolve around pieces such as walls, asylum, families, funding and deportation. There is no longer a focus on the broken system. Experts from the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Migration and Refugee Services and others renew the arguments for comprehensive reform even though the federal government cannot pass any real legislation.
Learn More About “For Profit” Detention Centers. Many immigration detention centers are run by “for profit” companies under contract with the federal government. For more information about generated problems, sign up for a webinar from the Justice for Immigrants Campaign. There are alternatives and cost savings. For example, the detention facility in Lumpkin County, Georgia is a “for profit” facility that announced an expansion to accommodate more beds.
United Nations Compact on Migration. The United Nations has adopted an international compact on the treatment of migrants around the world. The official representative of the Holy See to the UN has expressed hope that this compact will lead nations to greater respect for the dignity of all people. According to the Vatican representative, “Pope Francis encapsulates these shared responsibilities and solidarity in four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate.” Of course, compacts and resolutions are one thing, effectiveness on the ground is something different. Hence, we continue to pray and serve where we can.
Reasons for Failing to Appear in Court. Failing to appear in court for an asylum hearing can have a devastating effect on an applicant – an order of deportation. Yet, the reasons for not appearing in court result from inefficiencies and defects in the judicial system, not neglect or lack of concern. Click here to read more.
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.
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.
Catholic Bishops Criticize Administration’s Deployment of National Guard to Southern Border. U.S. Bishops’ Migration Committee Chair Bishop Joe Vasquez issued a statement supporting the bishops serving along the border. Read more from the Catholic Standard and on the Diocese of Laredo website.
Gaudete et Exultate. Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on holiness focuses on wide aspects of service that expresses holiness. “Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned.” Also, he says “This is not a notion invented by some Pope, or a momentary fad.” Click here to read the entire exhortation on the Vatican website.
Introducing Real Refugees. Pope Francis speaks often of the need to encounter others, not just have information about them. Last September, the Holy Father initiated the “Share the Journey” campaign so we all might encounter our refugee and migrant brothers and sisters. Check out the featured stories online and reflect on how you are encountering refugees in your community.
Important – ICYMI – Protect Archdiocesan Ministries! Please carefully read and heed Archbishop Gregory’s letter to the faithful of the Archdiocese regarding House Bill 605, now pending in the Georgia General Assembly. If it passes, it can affect our services to immigrants as well as others in need.
The Journey Continues. Please remember Share the Journey, the two year campaign initiated by Pope Francis, to draw world-wide attention to our migrating sisters and brothers. It is not too late to join the journey! Even the Lenten toolkit is still available. Chose whatever your parish or community feels called to do.
Pray the Stations of the Cross. Please pray the Stations of the Cross as we approach Holy Week, as well as written meditations related to human trafficking. Jesus began earthly life as a refugee from oppression and His passion and death brought Him to the peripheries of society.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Re-Interviews. USCIS is sending refugees notices to appear for interviews. If you or someone you know receives a notice, do not ignore it. Seek the advice of a qualified immigration attorney. Read this information sheet to prepare for the interview.
Protect Archdiocesan Ministries! Please carefully read and heed Archbishop Gregory’s letter to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Atlanta regarding House Bill 605 now pending in the Georgia General Assembly. If it passes, it can affect our services to immigrants and others in need.
Congratulations to Sister Norma Pimentel! The University of Notre Dame announced that Sister Norma Pimentel will be awarded the prestigious Laetare Medal for her work with migrants. Pope Francis commended her by name in conjunction with his pilgrimage to the United State in 2015.
Important Information for Burmese Refugees. If you are a Burmese refugee or work with one and have received a strange letter that appears to be from the government, please click here to read an update from the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC).
National Catholic Call Congress for Dreamers Day. On February 26, over 48,000 Catholics called their congress representatives and senators to support Dreamers. If you did not get a chance to do it, there is still time to have your voice heard.
The Border is a Place for Encounter, Not a Place for Violence. As bishop of the border city of El Paso, Bishop Mark Seitz continued his advocacy work for Dreamers in Washington last week.
Citizenship Clinic. Do you or someone you know qualify for naturalized citizenship? Check out the Free Citizenship Clinic on February 24.
Comprehensive Program on Immigration Legal Issues. Are you interested in an in depth program on legal issues related to immigration? Early bird reduced pricing is available for the annual Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) Convening in Tucson, AZ, May 30 – June 1, 2018.
Combine Lenten Practice With Support For Immigrant Neighbors. Still trying to decide what to do for Lent to affect your life and the lives of others? CLINIC has s series of digital devotions linking Scripture, prayer and human stories. Everyone can participate.
It is Not About a Chain; It is About Families. Despite the rhetoric from Washington, family unification is at the heart of an immigration policy that will build America. Read a message from Most Reverend José Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles and Vice President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Share the Journey. Pope Francis initiated the Share the Journey campaign last September, but it not too late to participate. Learn how to get involved online.
ICYMI — Know Your Rights. With all the reports of raids and deportations, it is important that everyone know their legal rights. See resources on the CLINIC website.
Know Your Rights. With all the reports of raids and deportations, it is important to know your legal rights. Resources are available on the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) website.
Did You Miss the Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita? St. Josephine Bakhita was born in Sudan and trafficked as a slave multiple times until she ended up in Italy. Later, she gained her freedom and became a religious sister. She was canonized in 2000. Learn more about human trafficking and suggestions for action by visiting the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Migration and Refugee Service website.
Catholic Social Ministry Gathering and Immigration. Over 500 people attended the 2018 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering (CSMG) in Washington, DC, including representatives from Georgia. Service to immigrant populations was the theme of the first day, headlined by a keynote address from Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo of Seattle and a video address from Pope Francis. Click here for more information.
Another Priest is Relying on DACA. Fr. Felipe González of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida came to the United State with his parents at age 11. He was ordained in 2016 because he could rely on DACA status, but may now be threatened with deportation if Congress does not adopt legislation to help.
DACA and the Federal Government Shutdown. The federal government shutdown ended after three days, but the issues related to immigration, especially DACA, remain for future resolution. Please pay attention to the media as events evolve, particularly if you or your fellow parishioners are personally affected by proposed legislative activity.
Syrians Need Extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Open warfare continues in Syria. Syrians living in the United States have been given temporary protected status, but it must continue. Read the report from Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC).
What Do Those With Temporary Protected Status Need To Know? Whether you are inquiring for yourself or someone you know, CLINIC provides comprehensive information on their website. Nonetheless, in such an important and complex area, advice from competent immigration legal counsel is essential.
How To Advocate For TPS. Visit the CLINIC website for information related to temporary protected status. Advocacy points for parish leaders and a quick guide are available.
Father Rey Pineda – DACA Recipient. He is one of us and one with us. Father Rey Pineda, parochial vicar at the Cathedral of Christ the King, has been the subject of several articles as a recipient of immigration protection under the Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA) program. See recent articles from the AJC and Washington Post.
ICYMI – National Migration Week is Over, But Needs Remain. National
Migration Week was January 7 to 14, but we still need to share the journeys of
others. Pope Francis initiated the “Share the Journey” campaign as a two-year
program. Stay current with the issues and find ways to participate. Information on
National Migration Week is still available online.
DACA and the Federal Government Shutdown. As of this writing, the federal government is in shutdown mode and the proposed DACA legislation is reputed to be the main sticking point. Follow the media for any changes.
National Migration Week Is Over, But Needs Remain. National Migration Week was January 7 to 14, but we still need to share the journeys of others. Pope Francis initiated the “Share the Journey” campaign as a two-year program. Stay current with the issues and find ways to participate. Information on National Migration week is still available online.
Pope Francis Calls on Unseen Warriors. Pope Francis called on “unseen warriors” – cloistered contemplative religious – to pray in a spirit of missionary prayer for those engaged in direct outreach to the poor, suffering and marginalized. Even those of us who do not live in a cloister must keep a spirit of prayer for all migrating peoples, particularly those in the United States during this time of political turmoil related to immigration policy.
Advocating For Immigrants and Refugees. Learn what you can do to support immigrants and refugees by attending the Catholic Charities USA webinar on Tuesday, January 23.
Georgia General Assembly Has Completed Six of Its Forty Legislative Days. As usual, the first few weeks of the General Assembly have shown little public activity. Nonetheless, we expect the tempo to pick up. Two areas of prospective legislative activity include restricting driver licenses for non U.S. citizens and a constitutional amendment requiring all state documents be written only in English.