Tag Archives: Update

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. 

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 296

Role of religion in lives of resettled refugees. Refugees who leave their home country, pass through resettlement camps and finally reach a place where they can peacefully resettle, must often rely on their faith. Yet there have been few studies on how religion influence refugees. Princeton University and USCCB Migration Resettlement Services teamed up to offer a symposium on the subject. See a report on the presentations.

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 go to http://justiceforimmigrants.org  and sign up. You won’t regret being better informed.

Human trafficking can show up anywhere, but immigrant communities are especially vulnerable. Be alert for signs of human trafficking in your community and speak out against trafficking. The USCCB provides a variety of useful information. Take time to educate yourself and your vulnerable communities. “Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. We must unite our efforts to free victims and stop this crime.” Pope Francis.

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.

November 12 is an important date for D.A.C.A. On November 12, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that will dramatically affect the lives of 800,000 Dreamers who came to the United States as children and have qualified for protection under the Deferred Action Child Arrival (DACA) program. The Court could determine whether the program can continue or must cease. A decision is not likely until late spring 2020. Those eligible for renewal of their registration should promptly take action to preserve their registration without waiting for a Supreme Court decision.

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 295

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. 

Everyone has legal rights in the workplace. Federal and state civil rights laws protect all workers from discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, gender, religion or national origin. All workers have the right to be safe in the workplace. Download CLINIC’s guide to rights of immigrants in the workplace, available in both Spanish and English.

National Migration Week – January 5 – 11, 2020. The theme for the upcoming National Migration Week is “Promoting a Church and a World for All.” On October 30, Justice for Immigrants is offering an informative webinar with suggestions for celebrating the week. Find more information here.

CLINIC and others to file lawsuit challenging proposed rules. As part of its mission to embrace the stranger, CLINIC advocates for regulations which help immigrants. As the administration increases burdens on those seeking citizenship, CLINIC, on behalf of the Catholic bishops, challenges those burdens. Under current policy, immigrants are typically not eligible to naturalize until they have lived as lawful permanent residents in the United States for five years, speak English, understand U.S. history and civics, and demonstrate a commitment to the U.S. Constitution. There is also a $725 application fee for which 40 percent of applicants need a waiver. CLINIC’s proposed lawsuit will challenge the new, more prohibitive standards for obtaining a waiver. Read more here.

Justice for Immigrants updates. In 2004, the U.S. Catholic bishops joined the Justice for Immigrants Campaign (JFI) to unite and mobilize a growing network of Catholic institutions, individuals, and other persons of goodwill in support of immigration reform. Keep up with all that JFI offers at its website: https://justiceforimmigrants.org/

Comprehensive Immigration Report No. 294

Galvanizing State Support for Refugees. Refugees contribute to life in the United States on economic, social, cultural and other many levels but the Trump Administration is seeking to drastically limit the number of refugees allowed to enter the country and allowing state governors to prohibit federal refugee resettlement programs in a state. See how Justice for Immigrants can help you support refugees resettling in Georgia.

How Can You Organize Your Parish to Welcome Immigrants and Refugees? How can you and your parish follow Jesus’ teaching to welcome the stranger? If you want to follow that teaching, you need a plan. Read about the POWIR program from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and more importantly, see how you can put it to work in your community.

Lawyers, Paralegals and Others Counseling Immigrants, Beware! Criminal charges and convictions can have significant effects on immigrants even if the criminal activity is minor. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring the immigration of charges or convictions. CLINIC is offering a four part webinar on the immigration consequences of crimes. The consequences may not be what you think. 

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.