Tag Archives: Reform

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 293

What Does It Mean That It Is Harder To Claim Asylum? Asylum is a legal right and there are procedures to claim and prove the right to asylum in the United States, but the Administration is making procedures more difficult and circumventing procedures already in effect. See, for example, a report from the Jesuit sponsored Kino Border Initiative.

Pope Francis in Words and Actions. Pope Francis frequently speaks in support of migrating people. Among thirteen new cardinals created by the Holy Father, there is Michael Czerny, S.J., undersecretary of the Section for Refugees and Migrants in the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. In selecting the new Cardinal Czerny, the Pope brings into his Senate of close advisors a priest who has long shared the Holy Father’s concern. Read how Cardinal Czerny has displayed his devotion to protection of migrants as well as the environment through symbols on his seal and pectoral cross.

Teens In A New Country? All teens have issues needing attention but teens migrating from other countries have special issues in adapting. If you know families with these teens share the “Raising Teens in a New Country: A Guide for the Whole Family” from Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services.  

Religious Workers May Be Adversely Affected By New Public Charge Rules. The Administration’s new rules restricting lawful status for persons who do not have sufficient assets may be used adversely against religious brothers and sisters who have taken a vow of poverty and can own no assets. Read an article by Sister Sally Duffy, SC to obtain more information.

World Day For Migrants and Refugees. In a special ceremony at the Vatican, Pope Francis unveiled a new sculpture depicting migrants and refugees with an angel in their midst calling to mind the Letter to the Hebrew: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:2)

ICYMI — Rapid Response to Potential Raids. Keep clients alert with the CLINIC Rapid Response Toolkit to help protect your family.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 292

Administration Proposes Low Refugee Limits; Advocates Respond. For this fiscal year beginning October 1, the federal government has set a maximum number of refugees that will be admitted for resettlement in the United States during the year. The Trump Administration is proposing a maximum of 18,000 for fiscal 2020, the lowest number since the program began in 1980. On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Joe Vasquez, chair of the committee on Migration and Refugee Services condemned the historically low number.  There are expected to be 386,000 refugee and asylum claims.

Catholic Charities Atlanta and others who resettle refugees in Atlanta see the direct impact of the proposed limitation in Georgia.

World Day For Migrants and Refugees. By the time you read this the World Day for Migrants 2019 will be over, but the needs remain. See what Catholic leaders and organizations have been doing and will be doing to address these increasing needs. There is still time to reach out to our migrant and refugee brothers and sisters.

ICYMI – Encourage Naturalized Citizenship. Are there long-time residents in your community who should apply for citizenship? Here are recommendations to “push naturalization.” New citizens are benefited and the community is benefited.  There are free citizenship clinics available.

Rapid Response to Potential Raids. Keep clients alert with the CLINIC Rapid Response Toolkit to help protect your family.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 291

World Day of Advocacy for Migrants and Refugees. Since 1914, the Catholic Church has been celebrating World Day of Migrants and Refugees. Pope Francis has designated Sunday, September 29 as the day to remember migrants and refugees and he has chosen the theme “It is not just about migrants” to help us recognize our blind spots and ensure that no one remains excluded from society, whether a longtime resident or someone newly-arrived. Learn more and download the official toolkit here.

Did You Miss Citizenship Week? No problem. Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) has a webpage and a toolkit full of information with all the reasons why someone should seek citizenship and the ways to go about it. Now is an excellent time to consider citizenship for those eligible.

Need an Explanation of the “Return to Mexico” Policy? The Administration has adopted a policy of returning asylum seekers at the southern border to await determination of reasonable fear necessary for asylum. Here is an explanation and here is what can happen.  

Deprivation of Medical Care for Children in Custody. Not only are children in immigration custody at the border separated from their parents, they are often deprived on essential medical care. See the complaint filed by CLINIC and others to understand the issues.

Jesuits leaders increase emphasis on supporting immigrants. The provincials of the Jesuit provinces in the United States and Canada have issued a statement encouraging all Jesuits and their clerical and lay associates to expand their advocacy for immigrants and refugees.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 290

Encourage Naturalized Citizenship. Are there long-time residents in your community who should apply for citizenship? Here are recommendations to “push naturalization.” New citizens benefit themselves and the community.  Check out these free citizenship clinics.

Asylum Seekers Beware. The U.S. Supreme Court has given the Trump Administration permission to enforce tougher restriction yet on asylum seekers at the southern border while courts are still reviewing the new policy. The government can now refuse to consider a request for asylum from anyone who failed to apply for it in another country after leaving their own, but before coming to the United States. For example, migrants from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador cannot seek asylum in the U.S. if they didn’t first ask for it in Mexico.

A Cardinal Speaks Out and Leads a March. Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, NJ, recently led a procession of Catholic people protesting the detention of children and families in jail-like facilities. Many are fleeing violence in their home countries only to find these facilities.

It May Be Old, But It Is Still Good Information. The toolkit on human slavery and migration is still relevant. Slavery for sexual and labor services remains among us. Use the toolkit to identify victims and take action. Undocumented and those who do not speak English are among the most vulnerable. 

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

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.