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Immigration and the Church

Cardinal: Welcome immigrants based on Gospel mandate

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- In a wide-ranging presentation Saturday at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony said one has to go no further than the 25th chapter of Matthew to find this sacred mandate: "For I was a stranger and you welcomed me."

"All of us as disciples of the Lord are really called by Jesus to look at the strangers in our midst as looking at the face of Jesus," said the retired archbishop of Los Angeles in his talk titled "Surprise: We All Employ Undocumented Workers."

Since retiring last year as archbishop of Los Angeles, Mahony has devoted himself to advancing the cause of comprehensive immigration reform in the nation. Specifically, he has headed an effort to organize Catholic college students, as well as college presidents, around the biblical and moral principles that are the foundation for the church's ongoing support for immigration reform.

The cardinal said Adam and Eve were actually the first migrants in recorded history, noting also that Moses led his imprisoned Jewish people out of Egypt to the Promised Land and Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt to protect the life of their newborn son.

Kansas City rally aims to block deportation of man

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From The Kansas City Star; read the full story here:

 

The United States deports undocumented immigrants every day, but few get petitions and a rally on their behalf.

 

Jesus Torres Salayandia, a former Johnson County Community College student, has gotten that support because his Belton church friends and neighbors say he’s the first undocumented student in their community, that they know of, to face deportation.

Salayandia, whose parents brought him to the U.S. without documentation when he was 6, has been ordered to leave the country by April 13.

On Monday, about 50 people who want the 21-year-old Belton resident’s deportation stopped, gathered outside the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services field offices in the Northland.

 

'I'm getting arrested' app aims to help drivers

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PHOENIX -- A group of pro-immigrant rights activists in Arizona aim to develop a smartphone application that would help immigrants notify friends, family and their attorney if they are detained and arrested during a traffic stop.

Arizona was the first state to pass a law to make it a crime to be an undocumented immigrant (SB 1070), leading to an increased crackdown and climate of fear among immigrants. A recent Department of Justice investigation on racial profiling of Latinos by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office found that Latinos were four to nine times more likely to be pulled over in a traffic stop than non-Latinos.

"When someone gets pulled over the first thing to worry about is the family," said Lydia Guzman, the president of the nonprofit Respect/Respeto.

Deported wife's absence shadowed ordination

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MARSHALLTOWN, IOWA -- March 2009. That was the last time Felix Hernandez saw his wife, Cynthia, in the United States. Immigration and Customs Enforcement picked her up during a raid at her workplace, the former Swift & Company, a meat-processing plant in Marshalltown, for working without documentation. She was deported to Mexico and has been there since.

Archbishop joins immigrants' rally against federal deportation program

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Hundreds of immigrants and their supporters joined Archbishop George Niederauer at St. Mary's Cathedral on Jan. 28 to demonstrate their opposition to Secure Communities, a federal program that has resulted in the deportation of more than 60,000 undocumented residents of California in the last two years.

Seven in every 10 of those 60,000 were not convicted or were arrested for a minor offense, such as selling food without a permit, according to the website of Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a Catholic introducing legislation that will allow cities and counties in California to opt out of the program. Niederauer has endorsed the proposal.

Currently, participating police and sheriff departments send the fingerprints of all arrestees to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency for verification of immigration status, usually while the person is still in pretrial custody. Those found to be undocumented are held for up to two days in local jails until ICE picks them up for detention and potential deportation.

Foster care, uncertain futures loom for thousands of immigrant children

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WASHINGTON -- More than 5,000 children of immigrants are languishing in state foster care nationwide because their parents were living in the United States illegally and were detained or deported by federal immigration authorities.

These children can spend years in foster homes, and some are put up for adoption after termination of their parents' custody rights. With neither state nor federal officials addressing the problem, thousands more are poised to enter the child welfare system every year.

"They can be dropped into the foster care system for an indefinite period of time," says Wendy D. Cervantes, vice president for immigration and child rights policy at First Focus, a bipartisan advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. "This causes severe long-term consequences to a child's development. It has a negative impact on the country as a whole and a direct impact on taxpayers. The fact that these children have parents means they shouldn't be in the system in the first place."

For those in San Francisco area: "Trust Act of 2012"

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If you are in the San Francisco area, you may be interested in this event about Secure Communities and what Catholics and people of other faith traditions are saying. NCR received a press release this morning:

 

Event to Stop the Deportations and the Separation of Our Families,
January 28th, 2pm, St. Mary's Cathedral
(1111 Gough St. San Francisco, CA)

 

On January 28th we are uniting as a city-wide, faith community (and especially the Catholic community) to announce our solution to the division of families, the increase of fear, and the lack of immigrant trust in the local police: the Trust Act of 2012 (presented in the State Assembly by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano). This act will help prevent further deportations caused by S-COMM (the text is still being drafted and will be discussed at the event). We will listen to the testimony of immigrant family members affected by S-COMM, we will share further information on S-COMM's now 55,000 deportations in California, we will participate in prayer, and stand with a variety of local and state government officials, police and sheriff's officers, and other public figures that support the immigrant community. We will do this so that our faith community's collective voice can be heard by the Governor in support of the Trust Act, against S-COMM, and in favor of family unity.

Immigration conference deals with the tough questions

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Putting the cart in front of the horse is one way to describe the federal government's pursuing immigration enforcement before immigration reform, according to participants at a recent conference here.

The three-day gathering was convened in Salt Lake City by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and its Migration and Refugee Services, and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc. (CLINIC).

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