Blessed Christmas! Joyeux Noël! Frohe Weinachten! Feliz Navidad!
Buon Natale! Feliz Natal! Nollaig shona dhuit!
The Georgia General Assembly begins its 2020 session on January 13. Please pray that legislators will act for the common good of everyone in Georgia and remember that the common good is not based on the desires of the majority. In theological terms, the common good is defined in Pope John XXIII’s encyclical Mater et Magistra (On Christianity and Social Progress) as “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily.”
Congressional legislation. There are very few bills making their way through Congress but the Farm Workforce Modernization Act of 2019 (H.R. 5038) passed the House last week with the public support of the Catholic bishops of the United States. The bill would improve conditions for immigrant farmworkers and their families, as well as ensure the stability of the U.S. agricultural industry. The bill must still pass the Senate and be signed by the president before it can become law. Read more on the bishops’ position here.
State level advocacy project. On December 10, USCCB Office of Migration and Refugee Services, Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Charities Oregon offered the first of several webinar sessions to assist in developing state activity to support for immigrants and refugees. See slides and other information about the project here.
Migrants have a role in their new parish communities – “smugglers of the Gospel.” Speaking to Filipino migrants in St. Peter’s Basilica and recognizing how they have enlivened many parishes in Rome and around the world, Pope Francis said they have “a special mission: may your faith be a leaven in the parish communities you belong to today.” Using a non-biblical metaphor, he told them to be smugglers of the Gospel to new lands. Read more here.
The end of Advent and the Christmas season. As we meditate on the Scriptures read during the next few weeks, remember those who are forced to migrate around the world and in our own country. Catholic bishops continue to oppose incarceration of those fleeing tyranny and poverty in their home countries. See, for example, the strong statement of Bishop Steven Biegler of Cheyanne, Wyoming, in opposition to a new detention facility in his diocese.
ICYMI – Stay up to date on immigration news, alerts and resources. Justice for Immigrants offers a “week in review,” action alerts, webinar information and more. Take two minutes today to visit their web page and sign up. You won’t regret being better informed.
This is the last immigration report for 2019, as the next Communique will be published on January 13, 2020.