Extension of TPS Designation for Haitians. On April 17th, Catholic leadership of the Migration and Refugee Services of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly requesting an extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians in the U.S. for an additional 8 months. TPS prevents Haitians from being deported because of the continued conditions in Haiti resulting from Hurricane Matthew and other factors. The current TPS is set to expire on July 22, 2017 but the U.S. government must act by April 22, 2017 which is 90 days from the expiration date.
Sanctuary Cities, “Sensitive Locations.” Sanctuary for undocumented immigrants or others is being widely discussed. Background information will be available in a webinar by the Justice for Immigrants on Wednesday, April 26th. Details are available here. Also, listen to Archbishop Gregory’s interview.
Atlanta Urban Stations of the Cross on Good Friday. Justice and Peace Ministries of the Archdiocese of Atlanta sponsored the Urban Stations of the Cross on Good Friday morning. At fourteen locations, beginning at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and ending at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center, over 150 people listened to reflections on Jesus’ journey to the cross in light of social justice issues, including the plight of immigrants and refugees, human trafficking, urban food deserts and others. This was the thirty seventh occasion of these reflections.
“Migration, if handled with humanity, is an opportunity for everyone to meet and grow.” Thus says Pope Francis in a recent interview as he continues to extend his heart and prayers to all migrating peoples. Read the full interview. The pope recently set up a new dicastry (office of the Roman Curia) that included a special section reporting directly to him. “The multitude of migrants, refugees, displaced people and victims of human trafficking requires particular care. This is why I decided to take care of them personally, at least for a while, and why the section reports to me directly.”
Unaccompanied Children. Unaccompanied children from other countries are still among us even if their problems are not on the front page. Consider this webinar to help identify and help them in your current ministries.
Administration Actions. While the courts still prohibit implementation of the Administration’s ban on refugees, the Department of Homeland Security has apparently increased its enforcement activities. See this example and Catholic response from Cincinnati.
ICYMI – How Can I Learn More To Help Immigrants And Refugees? Anyone (especially lawyers, legal assistants and law students) who want to assist their clients by learning more about immigration law have the opportunity to attend the annual convening of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), being held at the Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta this year. Visit their website for details and registration information.
Immigration. The Georgia General Assembly completed its 2017 legislative session on March 30 after passing two bills that directly affect immigrants, refugees and those who work with them. Although the bills passed both legislative houses, Governor Deal has forty days to sign or veto the laws before they become effective.
HB 37 will bar state funding to private post-secondary institutions which declare themselves “sanctuary campuses.” http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/Display/20172018/HB/37
HB 452 will require the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to create and maintain a website with the names of immigrants who lack legal status and have been released from federal custody in Georgia. http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/Display/20172018/HB/452
How Can I Learn More To Help Immigrants And Refugees? Anyone (especially lawyers, legal assistants and law students) who want to assist their clients by learning more about immigration law have the opportunity to attend the annual convening of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), which is being held at the Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta this year. Details and registration information are available at https://cliniclegal.org/convening.
ICYMI – Interview with Archbishop Gregory. Read commentary on an interview with Archbishop Gregory and listen to the entire interview discussing President Donald Trump’s travel ban on six majority-Muslim countries, the idea of “sanctuary” cities, and the poisonous state of civic discourse. http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2017/03/20/atlanta-archbishop-on-poisonous-political-talk-its-in-the-water/
Interview with Archbishop Gregory. Archbishop Gregory was interviewed on March 17. Read the commentary on the interview with Archbishop Gregory, and listen to the whole interview discussing President Donald Trump’s travel ban on six majority-Muslim countries, the idea of “sanctuary” cities, and the poisonous state of civic discourse. http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2017/03/20/atlanta-archbishop-on-poisonous-political-talk-its-in-the-water/
Why Can’t They Get in Line? Some often ask this question regarding undocumented immigrants. However, there is no “line” and the wait can extend decades. This article explains this part of the process. http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/immigration/sd-me-immigration-waits-20170320-story.html
What Can I Do To Respond To the Refugee Executive Orders? There is much talk about responding to the executive orders related to refugees, but what are some practical and effective steps? See recommendations from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Justice for Immigrants campaign. http://justiceforimmigrants.org/2016site/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/WHAT-YOU-CAN-DO-3.1.17-FINAL.pdf
“Living as a People of God in Unsettled Times” On March 22, the USCCB Administrative Committee issued the following pastoral reflection in solidarity with those who have been forced to flee their homes due to violence, conflict or fear in their native lands. In the statement, the bishops encourage each of us to do what we can to accompany migrants and refugees who seek a better life in the United States. http://www.usccb.org/news/2017/17-054.cfm
See additional comments: http://catholicherald.com/News/National___International/National/U_S__Catholics_asked__to_accompany__migrants,_refugees_seeking_better_life/
Seek Qualified Assistance. In this time of uncertainty for immigrants and refugees, many seek help with legal issues. It is essential that everyone use only qualified attorneys or legal service providers. CLINIC offers resources to avoid unqualified individuals who prey on those in need. https://cliniclegal.org/notario
In particular, check out five tips for avoiding scams. https://cliniclegal.org/sites/default/files/resources/unauthorizedpractice/5-Ways-to-Avoid-Immigration-Scams.pdf If you know someone who may be the victim of immigration fraud, here is a way to file a complaint: https://cliniclegal.org/resources/how-and-where-file-immigration-scam-complaint
Refugee Travel Ban. The Trump Administration has issued its revised executive order restricting refugees. Bishop Joe Vasquez, speaking on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, responded with a statement expressing the bishops’ grave concern with the new restrictions. He expressed particular concern for the Administration’s decision to limit the number of refugees to 50,000 a year. “Resettling only 50,000 refugees a year, down from 110,000, does not reflect the need, our compassion, and our capacity as a nation. We have the ability to continue to assist the most vulnerable among us without sacrificing our values as Americans or the safety and security of our nation.” http://www.usccb.org/news/2017/17-048.cfm
ICYMI – Advocacy Actions. While waiting for governmental action from Washington, there are actions that can be taken now and some of them are more than writing to Congress. http://justiceforimmigrants.org/2016site/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/WHAT-YOU-CAN-DO-3.1.17-FINAL.pdf
Stay Up to Date on Executive Orders. Although the status of executive orders related to immigration changes frequently, avoid rumors and panic. Follow webinars from the Catholic bishops’ Justice for Immigrants campaign. http://justiceforimmigrants.org/news/webinar-executive-order-dhs-memoranda/
Advocacy Actions. While waiting for governmental action from Washington, there are actions that can be taken now, with some being more than writing to Congress. http://justiceforimmigrants.org/2016site/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/WHAT-YOU-CAN-DO-3.1.17-FINAL.pdf
Local Governments Have an Impact on Immigrants. Comprehensive immigration reform must come from the federal government, but the lives of immigrants and community life can be helped by local action. Take time to join a webinar discussing local government activities on Wednesday, March 8. https://cliniclegal.org/civicrm/event/info?id=546&reset=1
Who Are the Refugees and Asylum Seekers? Support refugees and asylum seekers through encountering their stories. Look for the faces of migration. http://justiceforimmigrants.org/faces-of-migration/stories-of-migration/
To Welcome, To Protect, To Promote, To Integrate. Citing the consistent teachings of his predecessors, Pope Francis identified these responses as necessary for a Christian approach to migrating peoples. We have a duty of civility, justice and solidarity toward our brothers and sisters. http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2017/02/21/0110/00263.html#ing
More Bishops Speak. Cardinal Blasé Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, has written of his concerns about the Administration’s executive actions http://www.chicagocatholic.com/column/archbishop-cupich/2017/02/12/executive-actions-on-refugees-and-immigrants-history-and-humanity. According to Catholic social teaching, the basic building block of society is the family but, as Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez says, the immigration raids are breaking up families http://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2017/02/16/archbishop-gomez-trumps-immigration-crackdown-harming-families.
Executive Action Update. As this is written, we are anticipating a new revision of the Administration’s travel ban executive order sometime in the coming week. There is still speculation about an executive order related to DACA but, in the meantime, renewal applications are still being processed.
ICYMI – Justice for Immigrants Campaign. The Justice for Immigrants Campaign is supported by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to support diocesan and local activities by providing information for immigrants and those assisting them. The JFI webpage currently contains a number of items related to recent government activity and ways to protect yourself, your family and those in your parish. http://justiceforimmigrants.org/ The Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) also provides resources related to protection of rights for immigrants. https://cliniclegal.org/resources/know-your-rights
Border Bishops Speak. Catholic bishops of the United States minister along the Mexican border to migrants and speak out in their support. http://angelusnews.com/articles/at-the-mexico-border-catholic-bishops-unite-for-migrants
Executive Action. Following court decisions, the executive orders related to immigrants and refugees remain unenforceable. By all reports, however, the Trump administration is preparing new executive orders, which as they claim, will avoid the legal problems with earlier orders and lead to more deportations. For those who may be affected by any new orders in the near future, it is important to keep abreast of publicly announced changes and take personal action with caution and counsel.
Refugee Resettlement Facts. In the ongoing discussion of refugee resettlement, seek out facts about the people and the processes they go through. (https://twitter.com/jrsusa/status/832658029552115712?s=03)
Justice for Immigrants Campaign. The Justice for Immigrants Campaign is supported by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to support diocesan and local activities by providing information for immigrants and those assisting them. The Justice for Immigrant (JFI) webpage currently contains a number of items related to recent government activity and ways to protect yourself, your family and those in your parish. http://justiceforimmigrants.org/ The Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) also provides resources related to protection of rights for immigrants. https://cliniclegal.org/resources/know-your-rights
Executive Orders Related to Refugees. The Trump Administration still pursues a broad policy to prohibit refugees and other from entering the United States. While the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has temporarily blocked implementation of the executive order, the Administration will likely take additional steps against refugees and immigrants. Anyone who may be affected by the ban should seek legal counsel to make sure they have current information, especially with regard to travel outside the United States. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops welcomed the decision of the Ninth Circuit http://www.usccb.org/news/2017/17-036.cfm. The USCCB also expressed the solidarity of the bishops with all Christians and others suffering religious persecution in the Middle East http://www.usccb.org/news/2017/17-037.cfm.
ICE Enforcement Actions Increase. It is widely reported that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (ICE) has stepped up arrests of undocumented individuals, including those with no criminal history. http://jamiedupree.blog.ajc.com/2017/02/11/immigration-groups-on-alert-over-recent-reports-of-raids/ ; http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/what-to-know-about-recent-immigration-raids-in-us-cities/ar-AAmPImF?li=BBnb7Kz Please consider ways to protect yourself, your family and others in your parish. http://justiceforimmigrants.org/2016site/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Nine-Ways-to-Protect-Yourself-2.3.17-English-FINAL.pdf
Georgia General Assembly. With all the focus on policy activity in Washington, the Georgia General Assembly has had few significant bill affecting immigration. Nonetheless, on February 8, a committee of the House of Representatives added a provision to a bill that would require that driver licenses issued to non-citizens be marked “non-citizen.” (House Bill 136) The bill has still not passed both houses of the General Assembly but, if passed, the statement would apply to licenses issued to all non-citizens, including legal permanent residents (i.e. green card holders.)
Facts About Refugees. In the discussion about admitting refugees to the United States, there is much misinformation spread around. Take time to learn facts from Catholic Relief Services (CRS), an agency which works with refugees around the world. http://www.crs.org/media-center/11-things-you-may-not-know-about-refugees
Lobby Days Are Coming! Take the opportunity to join fellow Catholics in advocating Catholic social teaching at Catholic Day at the Capital in Atlanta. More detail and registration at https://archatl.com/events/2017-catholic-day-capitol/ Also, human trafficking is a plague that affect many in society, especially vulnerable populations such as immigrants and refugees. Join those opposing human trafficking at a General Assembly lobbying day on February 28. #LobbyDay2017
Catholic Charities Atlanta Response to Executive Order. See the response of Catholic Charities Atlanta to the executive orders related to immigration. https://catholiccharitiesatlanta.org/2017/01/27/supporting-refugees-immigrants/
Executive Orders Related to Refugees. Over the weekend, a federal district court in Washington prohibited implementation of the ban and the Court of Appeals temporarily upheld the prohibition. The administration still pursues the ban. Anyone who may be affected by the ban should seek legal counsel to make sure they have current information, especially with regard to travel outside the United States.
In multiple media releases during the past week, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has vigorously spoken in opposition to executive orders issued by President Donald J. Trump regarding refugees. http://www.usccb.org/news/2017/17-026.cfm The president and vice president of the USCCB spoke in defense of religious freedom for all faiths. http://www.usccb.org/news/2017/17-026.cfm Catholic bishops expressly spoke in solidarity with Muslim peoples. http://www.usccb.org/news/2017/17-031.cfm
Damage to Families. Consistent with Catholic social teaching, Catholic organizations have focused on the disruptions caused to families by the recent executive orders and by the federal government’s unwillingness to address the problems with our country’s immigration system. https://cliniclegal.org/news/national-catholic-organizations-oppose-executive-orders-affect-immigrants-and-refugees
What is CLINIC? The Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) was established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Embracing the Gospel value of welcoming the stranger, CLINIC promotes the dignity and protects the rights of immigrants in partnership with a dedicated network of Catholic and community legal immigration programs. https://cliniclegal.org/about-us
Migration Mondays. Check out the most recent Migration Mondays, a new series of postings from the Justice for Immigrants campaign of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Every week there will be a new informative and inspirational posting. http://justiceforimmigrants.org/migrationmonday/migrationmonday-6/