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Immigration and the Church

Catholics welcome new law for undocumented


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


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


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.

Catholic agencies say arrival of refugees slowed by security measures


CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The number of refugees taking shelter in the United States has slowed to a trickle following new security measures put in place by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Meanwhile, Catholic refugee resettlement offices across the country are left waiting, uncertain when the flow of refugees will begin again -- and when it does, how many refugees may be allowed to enter the country.

Last year, the United States welcomed 75,417 refugees -- people escaping religious or political persecution, poverty, natural disasters and more.

The number is determined every year by the president in consultation with Congress; the slots are divided among different regions of the world. In October, President Barack Obama authorized 80,000 refugees be accepted during fiscal year 2011, which runs from October 2010 to September 2011.

Each year, the U.S. bishops' Migration and Refugee Services and its diocesan affiliates resettle between 27 percent and 28 percent of the total number authorized to come to the United States, with other aid organizations helping the rest.

Obama launches new push for immigration reform during Texas visit

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama chose the Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso, Texas, near the U.S.-Mexico border to launch a push for immigration reform that the administration has been working toward for about a month.

As dozens of states this legislative session have considered -- and most have rejected -- measures that would localize immigration enforcement that comes under federal authority, Obama has been building support among religious leaders, business groups, prominent immigrants and others for a new immigration reform effort.

As states advance bills, Obama calls for federal immigration changes

WASHINGTON -- With more legislatures taking public frustration over immigration-related problems into state-level hands, President Barack Obama renewed his commitment to putting his political weight and the resources of his administration behind a federal approach to reform.

But as he told participants in a White House meeting April 19, the responsibility for legislation to fix the multilayered immigration mess lies with Congress.

"Padre da un consejo!"


“Padre da un consejo!”

What priest who ministers in an Hispanic parish has not heard this many times a week or more?

“ ‘La migra’- they arrested my husband and deported him back to Mexico and me and my children are here illegally. When I go down to ‘la emergencia’ they ask me if we are citizens? If we are here illegally? I know it is a sin to lie Padre, but what do I say? ‘Mi hijo’-he needs the medicines and we can’t pay. Do I lie?”

Our people carry so many burdens.

P. Jose Rankin

Vatican official: Promote rights, dignity of Gypsies


VATICAN CITY -- Centuries-old discrimination against Gypsies can be overcome with initiatives to encourage education and integration coupled with a desire to reach out to others, a Vatican official said.

Archbishop Antonio Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, said the church has been working to help create the structures and the environment that will "change the minds of people within and outside the church" regarding nomadic peoples known as Gypsies.

At a book fair specializing in social issues in Grottaferrata, south of Rome, Archbishop Veglio said April 15 that Gypsies have suffered isolation and persecution throughout history.

He said that within the pontifical council, the term Gypsy, sometimes a pejorative and offensive to nomadic people, is used because it can include nomadic peoples around the world. The terms Roma and Sinti refer more specifically to the nomadic populations in Europe, he explained.

Integration has been difficult because of rejection by local populations as well as fear of absorption and loss of identity on the part of the Gypsy people, Archbishop Veglio said.

Times profiles anti-immigration advocate


The New York Times April 17th published an extensive profile of a Michigan man who has been the most influential anti immigration advocate in America.

The Times article wrote: One group that Dr. John Tanton nurtured, Numbers USA, doomed President George W. Bush’s legalization plan four years ago by overwhelming Congress with protest calls. Another, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, helped draft the Arizona law last year to give the police new power to identify and detain illegal immigrants.

A third organization, the Center for Immigration Studies, joined the others in December in defeating the Dream Act, which sought to legalize some people brought to the United States illegally as children.


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In This Issue

March 27-April 9, 2015


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