Tag Archives: Reform

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 306

Immigrants and human trafficking. Migrating people, especially those without documentation, are particularly susceptible to recruiters for human traffickers. Do not forget the indicators of trafficking for sexual or labor purposes. To get help from the National Human Trafficking Hot Line call 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733).

It should be obvious. Human trafficking for any purpose is a serious violation of Catholic social teaching. Learn more about trafficking here. Also, see the anti-trafficking program sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Hope for Lent. Lent leads to hope. Get daily encouragement in hope from Radical Hope Lent 2020, sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network. Contributors will include Joan Rosenhauer, from the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, and Sister Norma Pimentel, from Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 305

Faces of migration. Do you want true stories of migrating people to share in your community? Follow JFI on Twitter. You can also share your own story of migration. Migrating people are not statistics. They all have faces, names and personal histories.

Do you want an information hub about how to help for refugee childrenBridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services (BRYCS) aims to help families integrate into a new culture with a wealth of information and useful links. This is an indispensable tool box for refugee families and those helping them.

Deported to danger. What happens to those who are deported to El Salvador, especially those who are Salvadorians? Read this report from Human Rights Watch to understand the reality beyond the headlines.  

Do you really know what the new “public charge” rules mean to you? You may have heard of the new “public charge” rules, but do you understand them? Do you know how do they apply to you or people you work with? Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) provides a helpful page explaining the new rules. As always, consult an immigration attorney before taking any action that may affect your immigration status.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 304

Supreme court allows “Public Charge” rule to go into effect. The administration’s proposed “Public Charge” rule could preclude immigrants who lawfully receive public welfare benefits from obtaining citizenship. A federal court had prohibited the administration from implementing the rule until its legality could be adjudicated. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, has allowed the implementation of the rule even though not yet fully reviewed by a court. The bishop chairs of the USCCB committees on Domestic Justice and Human Development and Migration have expressed deep concern that this rule will deter families from seeking the food, medical care and other services they need. The bishops also urged those needing services to consult with service providers before refusing services. Read the full statement here.

“No More Deaths,” charity prevails. Members of the group “No More Deaths” were convicted in an Arizona federal court when they entered federal desert land to leave food and water for immigrants crossing the desert to enter the United States. The convictions were reversed, however, when the trespassers showed the court that they were acting out of sincerely held religious beliefs and that the government was not using the least intrusive remedy to protect government interests as required by the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Bishops oppose expanded travel bans. The administration has expanded travel restrictions to include those seeking to move to the United States from Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Eritrea, Burma and Kyrgyzstan. The chairs of several committees have opposed these additional bans as seriously detrimental to family unity. Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) has also registered it concerns.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 303

Church celebrates the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita on February 8. Celebrate the live of St. Josephine Bakhita, born in Sudan and trafficked as a slave until she arrived in Italy where she converted to the Catholic faith, obtained freedom and entered the convent. Following a life of faith, she died in 1947 and was canonized in 2000. Pray for all those subjected to forced immigration today.

Human trafficking in Georgia. The Kemp administration, with the support of First Lady Marty Kemp, will be introducing legislation to reduce labor and sex trafficking in Georgia. Be prepared to discuss the issues as they relate to immigrants and other vulnerable populations with this backgrounder from Justice for Immigrants.

Justice for Immigrants does not throw away important information. JFI produces high quality and informative webinars related to immigration. If you missed any, search in their archives.

ICYMI Executive order has been enjoined. The Executive Order 13888 prohibited the longstanding refugee resettlement program in any state where the governor failed to sign a declaration that allowed the federal program in that state to continue. All, but five governors (including Georgia Governor Brian Kemp), signed the declaration; however, whether the declaration is signed or not a federal court has temporarily prohibited implementation of the executive order and the resettlement program can continue, even in Georgia.

The USCCB provides more information. Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, welcomed the court ruling in that it supported the unification of families as a primary factor in initial resettlement.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 302

Georgia First Lady Marty Kemp and human trafficking. The Kemp Administration is raising the visibility of human trafficking in Georgia with several legislative proposals that will be publicly introduced in the next week. The Georgia Catholic Conference has supported legislation to reduce trafficking and to educate the vulnerable. Trafficking is a national and international issue. Read more background information prepared by the Justice for Immigrants campaign established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Another excellent resource for refugee services is provided by Bridging Refugee Children and Youth Services at https://brycs.org/.

Executive order has been enjoined. The Executive Order 13888 prohibited the longstanding refugee resettlement program in any state where the governor failed to sign a declaration that allowed the federal program in that state to continue. All, but five governors (including Georgia Governor Brian Kemp), signed the declaration; however, whether the declaration is signed or not a federal court has temporarily prohibited implementation of the executive order and the resettlement program can continue, even in Georgia.

The USCCB provides more information. Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, welcomed the court ruling in that it supported the unification of families as a primary factor in initial resettlement.

Show Hospitality to the Stranger. Speaking on the need for unity among Christians and all people, Pope Francis said that the gift of baptism “links and expands our hearts, and opens them to our neighbor, who is not an adversary but our beloved brother, our beloved sister.”

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 301

National Immigration Week was January 5 -10. While the official week is over, the need for solidarity and action remains. Bishop Mario Dorsonville, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington and Chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration, called on all “to prayerfully unite and live out the Holy Father’s vision to welcome immigrants and refugees into our communities and to provide opportunities that will help them and all people of good will to thrive.” Response to that call is needed throughout the year, not just for one week.  

Express Your Support for Refugee Resettlement in Georgia. On September 26, 2019, President Trump issued Executive Order 13888, which requires formal consent from a state governor and city mayor for continued refugee resettlement in Georgia. The written consent had been required by Friday, January 17. Governor Brian Kemp was one of a small handful of state governors who did not submit a consent. Nonetheless, a federal district court has issued an order prohibiting the implementation of this executive order. Thus, for the time being, the refugee resettlement program in Georgia can continue. It is still important to ask Governor Kemp to sign the necessary declaration. Email is the best way to contact the governor. The Catholic bishops of Georgia have written to Governor Kemp asking that he sign the declaration. For more information, click here.

Why (and How) Should We Advocate for Migrants, Asylum Seekers and Refugees? The Jesuits have an answer. Put your own credibility on the line. See http://jesuitmigrantsolidarity.org/

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. In addition, Saturday, February 8 is the feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, who was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in Sudan and Italy. The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has designated that feast as a day of prayer and awareness of human trafficking, keeping in mind that migrants and refugees are particularly vulnerable to traffickers. Read more about how to honor this day here.

ICYMI – The Georgia General Assembly began 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. We must remember those on the margins. 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.”

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 300

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.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 299

Asylum, what is it? Are you at a loss to explain asylum? Read the backgrounder from Justice for Immigrants so you can explain the reasons why our brothers and sisters risk their lives to seek asylum in the United States and why we are called to welcome them.

Let your voice be heard, but you must act by Friday, December 13.  The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service has proposed rules that will make application for naturalized citizenship more difficult for middle and low-income people. The proposed rule will eliminate several long established waiver practices and increase application fees by as much as 83%. Any citizen can submit comments through an easy to use web page prepared by Catholic Legal Immigration Network by December 13.

Are you prepared to celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12? The feast day is rapidly approaching. If you have not made plans for the festivities, see what you can do on the Justice for Immigrants feast day resource page or your local parish bulletin.

Pope Francis is scandalized. Pope Francis told a group of Jesuits during his Apostolic journey to Thailand in November that he has been scandalized by the anti-immigrant rhetoric that he hears. He said: “The phenomenon of migration is compounded by war, hunger and a ‘defensive mindset,’ which makes us think only from a state of fear and that by reinforcing borders we can defend ourselves.”

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.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 298

Because of the Thanksgiving Holiday there will not be a report next week, but stay up to date on immigration news, alerts and resources. Justice for Immigrants offers up to date information. What do you get when you sign up for the @USCCBJFI  alerts? You get action alerts, webinar alerts, news on new backgrounders and the week in review. Take two minutes today to go to sign up. You won’t regret being better informed during every season of the year.

Pope Francis in Asia. As Pope Francis journeys to Thailand and Japan, he calls to mind the needs of the many migrants trafficked individuals in those countries. Even in prosperity, these problems exist and all people of good will are called to assist these brothers and sisters.

“We can be a nation of laws and still be a nation of compassion.” So stated Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Texas who, as bishop of a diocese near the border between the United States and Mexico, has first hand experience in addressing immigration needs. These includes both, the need to vet those crossing the border and the need to recognize the humanity of those fleeing real threats to their lives and the lives of their children.

State and local response to administrative action. Immigration law and regulatory changes often take place on the federal level, but there are actions that can be taken on the state and local level. See suggestions from the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.

2020 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering (CSMG). Sponsored by multiple offices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and related organization, this annual event brings together hundreds of participants seeking to learn, pray and advocate for principles of Catholic social teaching. The next meeting will be in Washington, D.C. from January 25 through 28, 2020. Learn more and plan to attend.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 297

Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA). The future of DACA has been very much in the news during the past week.

The United States Supreme Court heard oral argument in a case that challenged the Trump Administration’s legal authority to rescind the DACA program. The recession has been held up pending a decision from the Supreme Court. It is difficult to determine how the Court might rules but a decision is expected in late spring 2020. In the meantime, DACA recipients whose registration is due for renewal are advised to apply for renewal.

The Catholic bishops of the United States elected Archbishop José Gómez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, as the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Archbishop Gomez is a native of Mexico who migrated to the United States and is the first Hispanic to become president of the USCCB. He has been a strong voice for just and comprehensive immigration reform and he advocates for continued protection for DACA recipients as a moral obligation.

Other bishops across the country have spoken out in support of DACA recipients.

Outside the Court building, Catholics gathered in prayer.

CLINIC executive director shared her border experiences with the bishops. Anna Gallagher spoke to a plenary meeting of the Catholic bishops and described her experiences at the southern border where thousands are waiting for the opportunity to plead for asylum in the United States. She spoke of “seeing crowded shelters without adequate food and sanitary services and meeting migrants who had faced a variety of travails, including beatings and abuse and one who almost had a child kidnapped.”

Asylum Seekers and the Rosary.  As have so many migrating people before them, those seeking asylum at the southern border, carry their rosaries across the desert. See a reflection.

ICYMI – 2020 federal election year leads to citizenship applications. As a presidential election year approaches, many long-time lawful residents start to give serious consideration to the benefits if United States citizenship. Those working with non-citizens can encourage them to begin the process. Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) offers ideas to help move those green card holders toward that goal.