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.
Presidential executive orders. The Biden administration continues to indicate its intention to issue immigration and refugee related executive orders that will reverse or modify executive orders issued by the previous administration. A series of orders expected on Friday, January 29, was postponed. The administration is, nevertheless, still expected to issue orders related to “remain in Mexico,” asylum and separated family policies among others. Those who might be directly affected by these changes should consult competent immigration attorneys to determine if their status may change.
Civic participation curriculum toolkit. As teachers and parents seek options to educate students in the ways of participation in affecting public policy, Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) offers a tool kit that can be adapted for home or classroom use. The materials may be sufficient for four classes.
Promoting citizenship and naturalization. The last few years have seen more and more restrictive policies related to naturalization. Changes are now being considered by the Biden administration. It may be time for those eligible for citizenship to seriously consider the step. See materials prepared by the New Americans Campaign and consult an experienced immigration attorney to find out your eligibility.
Changes may be coming to immigration courts. With the new administration, James McHenry, the director of the nation’s immigration courts, will step down. During his tenure, immigration judges saw changes such as placing quotas on the number of cases they should complete every year, ending their ability to indefinitely suspend certain cases, restricting when asylum can be granted and pouring thousands of previously closed cases back into court dockets. In the meantime, the case backlog increased and wait times continued to skyrocket. With new leadership, advocates are hoping for more reasonable adjudication processes.
Unauthorized immigrants will be included in census. Although the Trump Administration proposed to exclude undocumented immigrants from the apportionment of census calculations, the necessary analysis cannot be completed before the inauguration of the Biden Administration. The new administration has stated that it will include the undocumented. This is an important change in policy that will allow a more accurate allocation of federal social service funds and the determination of congressional representation.
Hardening of the heart. Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, Texas, on the border with Mexico, reflects on our national approach to brothers and sisters waiting to cross the border. “In the struggle for hope and freedom and family, God knocks… He knocks. He knocks. He knocks.”
ICYMI – Webinar – Immigration Policy for the Incoming Administration. In anticipation of the incoming Biden administration, Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) has developed policy recommendations and justifications that would reverse policies of the current administration and benefit immigrants and refugees. Join CLINIC experts for a free webinar explaining these policy recommendations on Thursday, January 21.
Justice for Immigrants (JFI) also has its priorities for the coming transition. JFI has also developed legislative and regulatory priorities to enhance the lives of immigrants and refugees.
Get more information directly from Justice for Immigrants.Go to http://justiceforimmigrants.org today and fill out the form at the bottom of the page to get the Week in Review, updates on webinars and much more!
What do you want to know about COVID-19 and immigrants? Refugees and immigrants, whether documented or not, are at greater risk than others from the COVID-19 pandemic. All refugees, immigrants and others who lack health insurance and access to affordable health care often cannot get the testing or treatment that would protect them and their family members. Also, all those who have limited resources are likely to go to work even when they have symptoms of the disease and expose others to infection. Justice for Immigrants has pulled together resource links to help refugees, migrants and their supporters with accurate information.
Did you receive a letter from the United States 2020 Census? If you received a letter from the United States 2020 Census, do not throw it away. Open it and respond through their website, mail or telephone. If you are assisting refugees or immigrants, whether documented or not, offer to help them respond as well. Here are available flyers in English and Spanish. The entire population must be counted, including those who may be present without documentation. Citizenship questions are not asked. Information is strictly confidential and cannot be used against anyone who responds. See explanatory resources from Catholic Legal Immigration Network here. See also other information here. Justice for Immigrants also offers some census related resources.
What are the benefits of immigrants to the United States? We all hear criticisms, but what are the facts? See JFI’s resources page to find more information.