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Immigration and the Church

'I didn't have to be afraid of the border anymore'

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Tucson, Ariz. -- What Leo Guardado most remembers about crossing the border back in 1991 was moving along in moonlit shadows, trying, as a 9-and-a-half-year-old, to stay low and to keep his own shadow from showing.

He realizes, as he talks about it, that most of his memories of that 26-day trip play out in moonlight, because it was almost always night when he and his mother, Maria, and about seven others from their small hamlet in Chalatenango, a northern province in El Salvador, moved through deserts and jungle-like terrain and crossed rivers to get to Tijuana, Mexico, and the short final scramble to San Diego.

In the two decades since, Guardado became a successful student (he was wait-listed at Yale and offered a full ride and stipend by Swarthmore College before choosing St. Mary’s College of California), studied in Spain, earned a master’s degree in religious studies at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, and currently is engaged in a long project of testing his attraction to a life with the Trappists.

North, Central America bishops speak on immigration concerns

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From the media office of the U.S. bishops' conference.

REGION’S BISHOPS EXPRESS CONCERN OVER IMMIGRANTS DEATHS, CALL GOVERNMENTS TO ACTION

WASHINGTON -- Catholic bishops of the North and Central American region and the Caribbean, who are in charge of the pastoral care of migrants, gathered in San Jose, Costa Rica, June 1-3, 2011. A joint declaration after the meeting was made public June 30. The prelates, representing the bishops’ conferences of the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panamá, Honduras and Guatemala, as well as CELAM (Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Latin America) and CARITAS International gathered to express solidarity and concern over the plight of immigrants in the Hemisphere. They were joined by religious and lay experts on issues of migration.

Immigration Reform Gathering to Convene April 2012

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Eucharist Without BordersCelebration, the monthly worship resource and sister publication of NCR, will host its fourth annual event on effective liturgy April 11-13, 2012.

Eucharist Without Borders: God's Welcoming Table and Comprehensive Immigration Reform will explore the Catholic church's calling to promote just immigration policy reform. The title of this conference highlights the truth that the Christian church cannot celebrate Eucharist and ignore the plight of undocumented immigrants. For Catholics, wherever Mass is celebrated, there can be no strangers, no borders and no closed doors.

The program is directed at pastors, preachers, liturgical ministers and social activists who seek to make evident that what happens in worship is directly linked to what happens on our nation's borders and in our communities.

Sisters of Mercy plan public witness in Chicago

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On Saturday, June 25 at 9:30 a.m. more than 400 Sisters of Mercy along with leadership and members of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the Eighth Day Center for Justice, and the Chicago Archdiocesan Office of Immigrant Affairs will be gathering on the grounds of Saint Xavier University in Chicago to take a stand against deportation of immigrants.

Tougher immigration enforcement ignores the humanitarian needs of migrants

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TUCSON, ARIZ. — Every day, the courtroom in the De Concini Federal Courthouse which hosts Operation Streamline is typically full of 70 men and women from various parts of Mexico and Central America. Processed in groups, they are divided up into groups of people who will receive the same sentence. Each group, listening to the proceedings through interpretation headphones, waits its turn to be called in front of the Magistrate. Each person is given a plea bargain that has been created in advance between prosecutors for the U.S. Government, and defense attorneys who have met with each defendant for a few minutes that morning.

State action on immigration distracts from federal efforts

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Not able to get much traction on immigration reform at the federal level, activists have shifted their focus to stopping bills in their state legislatures in order to draw attention to the need for federal reform. Catholic bishops followed the trend in their home states and sent their lobbyists, known as state Catholic conferences, into capitols to influence the hundreds of bills before their legislatures.

In 2010 alone, “more than 1,400 bills were introduced, 208 laws were enacted, 10 were vetoed, and 138 resolutions were adopted” regarding immigration-related state laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures Web site.

Utah and Florida, for example, ended their legislative sessions in March and May, respectively, with Utah passing four immigration bills and Florida leaving behind two.

Mexican Catholics working with undocumented migrants welcome new law

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MEXICO CITY -- Catholics who work with undocumented migrants welcomed Mexico's new immigration law, which gives expanded legal and human rights protection to the undocumented migrants transiting the country.

The law also promises to overhaul the country's immigration ministry in an effort to diminish corruption. Mexican President Felipe Calderon signed the law May 24.

It marks the latest effort to improve the treatment of undocumented migrants transiting Mexico on northward journeys to the United States. The journeys have become increasingly dangerous in recent years as criminal groups attack and kidnap migrants for ransom.

Catholics welcome new law for undocumented

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MEXICO CITY -- Catholics who work with undocumented migrants welcomed Mexico's new immigration law, which gives expanded legal and human rights protection to the undocumented migrants transiting the country.

The law also promises to overhaul the country's immigration ministry in an effort to diminish corruption. Mexican President Felipe Calderon signed the law May 24.

It marks the latest effort to improve the treatment of undocumented migrants transiting Mexico on northward journeys to the United States. The journeys have become increasingly dangerous in recent years as criminal groups attack and kidnap migrants for ransom.

Immigration, exclusion and the church

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DAYTON, Ohio -- "The immigration situation in the U.S. is a moral crisis ... because it raises disturbing questions about our genuine commitment to the sanctity of human dignity and human rights," said University of Dayton associate professor Mark Ensalaco, during his presentation at the Ecclesiology and Exclusion conference underway this week at the University of Dayton and offered by the Ecclesiological Investigations International Research Network.

Jesuit university to honor immigrant activist

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University of San Francisco press release:

SAN FRANCISCO -- The University of San Francisco (USF) will confer an honorary doctorate on Isabel Castillo, an activist whose high-profile fight for federal immigration legislation could have her deported at any time.

USF president Stephen A. Privett, S.J., will bestow the degree during graduation ceremonies for undergraduate students in art, architecture, performing arts and social sciences on Friday, May 20 at noon on the USF campus in the heart of San Francisco.

Castillo is a passionate advocate of the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors), which would give legal standing to undocumented college students whose parents brought them to the country illegally when they were children.

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July 18-31, 2014

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