Tag Archives: Reform

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 371

What is the Catholic Church doing during the immigration crisis? On Wednesday, July 14, the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) will host a webinar and discussion on its forthcoming report, “The CRISIS Survey: The Catholic Church’s Work with Immigrants in the United States in a Period of Crisis.” This event is based on the Catholic Refugee and Immigrant Service Integration Survey (the “CRISIS Survey”) from December 14, 2020 through February 5, 2021. Registration for the webinar is required.

The first one hundred days of the Biden administration have passed. Justice for Immigrants, sponsored by the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops, has reflected on the accomplishments of the new administration in light of Catholic teaching that every person has the God-given right to a safe and dignified life.

Migrants and refugees and today’s biblical”. Reflect on the theological and pastoral studies led by a distinguished panel of experts brought together by the Scalabrini International Migration Institute in a three-day virtual program on September 20 to 22. See details and registration information.   

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 370

Justice for Immigrants now has a video rosary. JFI has developed a rosary for migrants and refugees. You can now recite the rosary in conjunction with leaders on video.

Bishop Seitz met with Vice President Harris to discuss border needs.  Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, Texas joined other advocates in El Paso in meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris to share his long experience in helping migrants and refugees on both sides of the U.S. – Mexico border. Bishop Seitz encouraged the vice president to recognize the humanity of those seeking to enter the United States and to work with faith communities to alleviate hardships. See details about the visit here.

Asylum restrictions eased. A recent decision by the U.S. Department of Justice modified restriction on asylum seekers that had been imposed by the last administration. In several decisions, the Department of Justice had stacked the deck against those seeking asylum because of family violence, gender-based violence, gang brutality and persecution against families. New policies will afford protection for those fleeing their homeland for these reasons. See background and expectations.   

DACA applications are still backlogged. Since DACA applications were accepted as required by court order in December, 55,000 applications have been filed but only about 880 have been approved. Advocates, including Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), are loudly protesting these unwarranted delays. DACA registration protects undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from deportation, but also allows issuance of work permits and social security cards as well as state driver licenses.  

ICYMI — Do You Want More? Immigration news and policy modifications are coming from the government daily. Do you want to receive more action alerts on migration, weekly reviews, updates on webinars, backgrounders and much more? Go to http://justiceforimmigrants.org, scroll to the bottom of any page and fill out the form. Justice for Immigrants stays on top of changes for you.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 369

Vision forward for unaccompanied migrant children. Children, usually between ages 15 and 17, flee their home country in order to escape violence, trafficking, gang recruitment, extreme poverty and natural disasters in their home countries. United States law requires that the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) place these children in the least restrictive custody in their best interests. OOR currently has custody of nearly 18,000 such children who lack sponsors in the United States. The USCCB Migration and Refugee Service along with Catholic University of America has produced a research study with recommendations for care of these children. See the executive summary and report.  

“Remain in Mexico Policy” has been terminated. This policy, formally known as the Migrant Protection Policy has been terminated effective June 1, 2021. The policy required that asylum seekers at our southern border be returned to Mexico until their cases were decided. Those returned to Mexico (even if they were not Mexican citizens) were left for many months in dangerous and unhealthy conditions. The constitutionality of the policy was challenged in federal court and the USCCB and CLINIC filed briefs asserting that the policy was both unconstitutional and immoral. With the administration’s change in policy, the court case is now moot, but the problems for thousands of asylum seekers at the Mexican border remain. 

ICYMI — Do You Want More? Immigration news and policy modifications are coming from the government daily. Do you want migration more action alerts, weekly reviews, updates on webinars, backgrounders and much more? Go to http://justiceforimmigrants.org, scroll to the bottom of any page and fill out the form. Justice for Immigrants stays on top of changes for you.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 368

DACA is nine years old! President Obama instituted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012 by executive order so that individuals brought to the United States at an early age could obtain deferral of deportation. The executive order was issued with the expectation that Congress would enact legislation these individuals. Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued a statement marking the anniversary. The bishop also noted the need for congressional action to protect DACA registrants on a permanent basis.

Solidarity with seafarers as key essential workers. Sailors, fishers and their families live as people vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and human trafficking.  See the Solidarity with Seafarers toolkit, which includes background information, prayers, social media and other materials for knowledge and advocacy.  

Immigrant integration. Every immigrant has a personal story and those stories can extend to following generations. Laura Niño, a project coordinator with CLINIC, shares her story as a second-generation descendant of immigrants from Colombia.

ICYMI – Do you want more? Immigration news and policy modifications are coming from the government daily. Do you want migration more action alerts, weekly reviews, updates on webinars, backgrounders and much more? Go to http://justiceforimmigrants.org, scroll to the bottom of any page and fill out the form. Justice for Immigrants stays on top of changes for you.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 367

More from bishops’ summit meeting on church’s response to immigration.

Cardinal Michael Czerny, undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, addressed via Zoom an emergency meeting of bishops from the U.S., Central America and Mexico. The cardinal referred to migrants as your “parishioners” whether for a short or long time. Although people cross national borders, they should experience “the uninterrupted or seamless care of Christ” carried out by his followers along the way. The cardinal particularly praised the religious sisters who came from all across the United States to minister to children at the southern border. The bishops were accompanied by the prayers and notes from children in border tent camps. Organizations joining the bishops included a representative of the Catholic Legal Immigration network (CLINIC).

Civic integration. Refugees and immigrants can be successfully integrated into the community. Get help from CLINIC’s Civic Participation curriculum and resources.

How and why to broaden access and naturalization. With the change in national administrations, there are opportunities to consider ways to reform and improve the immigration system. The Center for Migration Studies has published research and conclusions suggesting a reasonable and fair way forward.

What are you doing for World Refugee Day 2021? World Refugee Day is June 20. Justice for Immigrants and USCCB Office of Migration and Refugee Services offers a tool kit with suggestions.

ICYMI – Do you want more? Immigration news and policy modifications are coming from the government daily. Do you want migration more action alerts, weekly reviews, updates on webinars, backgrounders and much more? Go to http://justiceforimmigrants.org, scroll to the bottom of any page and fill out the form. Justice for Immigrants stays on top of changes for you.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 366

Bishops hold summit meeting on church’s response to immigration. On June 1 and 2, a group of United States, Mexican and Central American Catholic bishops joined representatives of the Vatican and immigration service organizations to discuss the best ways to serve migrants departing their homeland and passing through other countries enroute to the borders of the United States. The bishops emphasized the importance of treating all with dignity. They also recognized the need for conversion among many Catholics who see immigration as only a political issue, not a moral issue. More reports from the meeting are likely in the future.

National Immigrant Heritage Month. President Joseph Biden has issued a proclamation designating June as National Immigrant Heritage Month. In addition to caking upon all to learn their own heritage, the president “directed federal agencies to rebuild trust in our immigration system that has been lost, to reach out to underserved communities unable to access the opportunities our nation offers them, to offer again a welcoming humanitarian hand to the persecuted and oppressed, and to reduce barriers to achieving citizenship and equality.” Read the full declaration here.

Lawyers in immigration court. The Administration has recently expanded the availability of pro bono lawyers in civil cases and immigration advocates are seeking such representation for defendants in immigration courts. Immigration law can be quite complicated and parties without adequate representation are at a dramatic disadvantage against government lawyers. Defendants have a right to legal representation but the government has no obligation to provide counsel for those who cannot afford that representation.

ICYMI – Do you want more? Immigration news and policy modifications are coming from the government daily. Do you want migration action alerts, weekly reviews, updates on webinars, backgrounders and much more? Go to http://justiceforimmigrants.org, scroll to the bottom of any page, and fill out the form. Justice for Immigrants stays on top of changes for you.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 365

The Asian Pacific American Heritage month is being celebrated in May.

Special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS): SIJS is an immigration status that allows children who have survived parental abuse, neglect or abandonment to apply for permanent residency in the United States. Congress created SIJS — with its direct pathway to a green card — to provide young people with tools to achieve stability: eligibility for federal financial aid for college, work authorization and protection from deportation. Applicants, however, face multiple years waiting for administrative processing. A group of 400 professionals and child protection organizations, including Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), has written to senior immigration officials requesting action to eliminate the backlog. Read the statement from CLINIC and follow the links to learn more.

Future of DACA. All agree that the Obama administration program for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was a temporary measure which has remained in effect since 2012 and that Congressional action is needed. The Trump administration tried unsuccessfully to halt the program and the Biden administration has continued it by executive order. Felicia Escobar Carrillo, chief of staff in the office of the director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, spoke in the annual convening of CLINIC and outlined additional proposed administrative action. Ms. Carillo acknowledged the logjam of actions due to staff reductions and COVID-related issues, but assured attendees that the administration was committed to preservation of DACA and had increased budgets for staff. Nonetheless, only Congress can institute real reform. Read more here.

Irwin County Detention Center. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced that it will cancel its contract with a private contractor for detention of immigrants. The cancellation follows allegations of mistreatment of detainees, including hysterectomies for which women had not given consent.

ICYMI – Do you want more? Immigration news and policy modifications are coming from the government daily. Do you want migration action alerts, weekly reviews, updates on webinars, backgrounders and much more? Go to http://justiceforimmigrants.org, scroll to the bottom of any page, and fill out the form. Justice for Immigrants stays on top of changes for you.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 364

Do you want more? Immigration news and policy modifications are coming from the government daily. Do you want migration action alerts, weekly reviews, updates on webinars, backgrounders and much more? Go to http://justiceforimmigrants.org, scroll to the bottom of any page and fill out the form. Justice for Immigrants stays on top of changes for you.

Dig into Fratelli Tutti. In his most recent encyclical, Pope Francis extensively explains the moral basis for welcoming migrants and refugees. Justice for Immigrants provides migration related excerpts to focus reflection. 

Climate change and migration; immigration and COVID. When you want to know more about these and other subjects related to immigration and refugees, be sure to visit the JFI website, which makes its previous webinars available.

Helping undocumented immigrants. There are undocumented immigrants living in the shadows among us. What can parishes do to help them? See ten suggestions from Justice for Immigrants.

ICYMI – Toward an Ever Wider “We.” This is the theme Pope Francis has chosen for the 107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees scheduled for September 2021. Read the Holy Father’s message for the occasion. The Good Samaritan story is central in Pope Francis encyclical Fratelli Tutti and guides the church and all humanity ‘Towards an ever wider WE’ in our one common home according to Cardinal Czerny during the presentation of the pope’s message.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 363

Toward an Ever Wider “We.” This is the theme Pope Francis has chosen for the 107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees scheduled for September 2021. Read the Holy Father’s message for the occasion. The Good Samaritan story is central in Pope Francis encyclical Fratelli Tutti and guides the church and all humanity ‘Towards an ever wider WE’ in our one common home according to Cardinal Czerny during the presentation of the pope’s message.

The administration has increased the number of refugees who can be admitted to the United States. The number of permitted refugees was increased to 62,500 during the current fiscal year. Bishop Mario Dorsonville, chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration, welcomed the increase. The bishop emphasized the inherent dignity of every human being and viewed the Administration’s action as a step toward a restructured resettlement program.

Invitation to the president. With increasing focus on the plight of asylum seekers at the southern border, Sister Norma Pimentel, Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley and a nationally known advocate for migrating people, has invited President Biden to visit the border to see firsthand the needs of those seeking security on both sides of the border.

ICYMI – Pope Francis: “Vaccines for all.” “Vaccines for all, especially for the most vulnerable and needy of all regions of the planet.” (Pope Francis, January 2021). See Vatican resources for church leaders.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 362

Pope Francis: “Vaccines for all.” “Vaccines for all, especially for the most vulnerable and needy of all regions of the planet.” (Pope Francis, January 2021). See Vatican resources for church leaders.

Want to discuss migration and Fratelli Tutti? Pope Francis discusses migration extensively in his most recent encyclical Fratelli Tutti. Take time to study the Pope’s teaching with helpful resources prepared by Justice for Immigrants.

Are you working with refugee children and their families? Immigrant and refugee children have special needs related to human trafficking, welfare, education, genital cutting, youth development and resettlement. Bridging Refugee Youth and Children Services (BRYCS) provides resources to focus on their needs.  

ICYMI – Pell grants may become available for undocumented students. Pell grants are awarded to low-income students, who can use the funds to pay for postsecondary education at any of around 6,000 participating postsecondary institutions, but they have not been available to undocumented students. The Biden administration, however, is proposing to make those grants available in its 2022 budget. Keep an eye on developments that may open college to eligible undocumented students next year.

ICYMI – Do you want a “deep dive” into current immigration law and practice? Every year CLINIC offers a comprehensive set of seminars and courses analyzing the current state of the law. Never has it been more important to keep up to date as the new Biden administration makes changes instituted by the Trump administration. The annual convening will be virtual this year. See registration information at https://cliniclegal.org/training/convening.