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Immigration and the Church

Quadriplegic immigrant dies after hospital returned him to Mexico

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The Chicago Tribune reports today this story:

 

"Sent back to Mexico by the Chicago-area medical center that had treated his crippling injury, the young quadriplegic languished for more than a year in a small-town hospital ill-equipped to handle his needs.

 

Quelino Ojeda Jimenez, who needed a ventilator to breathe, suffered two episodes of cardiac arrest in that facility as well as developing bedsores and a septic infection, officials said.

On Sunday, just 30 minutes into the new year, Ojeda died at age 21, said Jeromino Ramirez Luis, director of the General Hospital of Juchitan in Mexico, which took over his care from the smaller facility last month. Ramirez said the causes were pneumonia, sepsis and the effects of the spinal injury Ojeda suffered while working illegally in the United States."

 

Reactions in Ore. of new deportation policy

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PORTLAND, Ore. -- As Republican presidential candidates debate the volatile topic of immigration, federal enforcement officers are quietly enacting a new policy that could bring what one Oregon lawyer calls a "seismic shift."

Under new rules adopted by the Obama administration in 2011, deportation is reserved for felons, national security risks or repeat immigration offenders. Undocumented immigrants guilty only of minor legal violations and who have long and substantial ties in the United States would have their deportation cases set aside.

That could fulfill one demand issued by the U.S. Catholic bishops -- that immigrant families not be broken up over small offenses such as a broken taillight. Until now, agents have presumed that any violation could be a path to deportation.

The change is "a potential seismic shift in enforcement," said Geoffrey Scowcroft, an attorney who manages immigration legal services for Catholic Charities in Oregon. "We are in the very early stages of this, but this policy is as close to good news as we have seen in years," said Scowcroft, who helps immigrants negotiate the legal system.

Ala. governor rejects bishops' immigration plea

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (RNS) Gov. Robert Bentley won't support a repeal of the state's get-tough immigration law, rejecting a Christmas appeal from a group of top religious leaders.

"Gov. Bentley believes Alabama needs an effective illegal immigration law because the federal government has failed in its duties to enforce the law," wrote Bentley's press secretary, Jennifer Ardis, in an email.

'Posada' draws attention to immigration reform

CHICAGO -- Catholic advocates for immigration reform used a Dec. 16 "posada," a traditional Mexican re-enactment of Mary and Joseph's search for shelter in Bethlehem, to demonstrate the need to change the immigration system.

The posada was led by Chicago Auxiliary Bishops John R. Manz and Alberto Rojas and a couple portraying Mary and Joseph as they search for a place where they will be welcomed.

Letter to immigrants from 33 Hispanic, Latino bishops

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Note: The U.S. Hispanic and Latino Bishops released a letter to immigrants Dec. 12. Below is the text with the 33 signatories:

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LETTER OF THE HISPANIC/LATINO BISHOPS TO IMMIGRANTS

Dear immigrant sisters and brothers,

May the peace and grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you!

We the undersigned Hispanic/Latino Bishops of the United States wish to let those of you who lack proper authorization to live and work in our country know that you are not alone, or forgotten. We recognize that every human being, authorized or not, is an image of God and therefore possesses infinite value and dignity. We open our arms and hearts to you, and we receive you as members of our Catholic family. As pastors, we direct these words to you from the depths of our heart.

Georgia rally decries prison's treatment of immigrants

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LUMPKIN, GA. -- Traveling down Interstate 85 and Interstate 185 into the Deep South, the desolation of the journey along almost-empty highways makes one wonder if the Stewart Detention Center will ever appear. Touted by critics as the largest private, for-profit prison in the northern hemisphere, Stewart is the prison where thousands of Latino immigrants are held for almost certain deportation, most of them for minor traffic violations.

The Migrants: A Light to the Nations by Fr. Dean Brackley

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In January 2011, Fr. Dean Brackley gave the keynote address at "A Light to the Nations," the third annual Celebration conference on effective liturgy. In the address he offered his vision of the migrant poor as God's messengers, "a light to the nations." Fr. Brackley passed away in October. Read his memorial here.

Fr. Brackley will be remembered by many for his selfless decision in 1989 to go to El Salvador to help replace faculty members who were killed on the campus of the University of Central America during the civil war in that tiny country.

His legacy is in what he contributed during his 20 years in El Salvador. His academic work, extensive lecturing and writing focused on the structural injustices that drive social instability and migration for millions of desperate people around the world.

Bishops visit U.S.-Mexico border

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EL PASO, Texas -- Thousands of Mexican citizens are fleeing the violence that continues to plague the border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. That was the message from college professors, the director of a refuge for migrants and the migrants themselves to members of the U.S. bishops' Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions during a recent visit to El Paso

Ruben Garcia, director of Annunciation House in El Paso, told the eight bishops on the subcommittee Oct. 20 that there is a "steady stream" of refugees trying to escape their country's "police, military and government," as well as the nation's drug cartels.

Howard Campbell, professor of anthropology, and Kathleen Staudt, professor of political science, both at the University of Texas at El Paso, also addressed the bishops about the violence in Juarez.

El Paso and Ciudad Juarez , Mexico, are twin cities joined by four bridges along the Rio Grande.

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