Heading into the holiday weekend, I can't help but think about the three predictable questions I will probably be asked over the Thanksgiving table: Do you have a job lined up for next year? Are you dating anyone? What do you think about the president's executive action on immigration?
For the first time, federal funding will help pay for unaccompanied minor immigrants to get legal assistance, including through Catholic agencies that will receive a little more than half of $4.2 million in grants for this fiscal year.
An additional $4.8 million will be allocated for the legal program for the 2015 fiscal year.
Global Sisters Report: The biggest challenge organizations responding to the immigration crisis on the U.S./Mexico border is a federal administration bent on sending refugees back.
In early July, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement set up one of several makeshift detention centers in remote Artesia, N.M., to "manage the large influx of women with children arriving in south Texas seeking asylum from desperate conditions in Central America."
Global Sisters Report: Immigrants used to be released to family members pending deportation hearings. However, pressure from Congress resulted in the creation of a holding facility.
They set out, alone and terrified, on a treacherous journey for the promised land: a mass exodus of children, some as young as 4.
Arkansas Bishop Anthony Taylor's July 25 statement is worth the read, as he has firsthand experience of what's happening in Central America.
For the last four years I have served as a member of the Committee on Migration of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In that capacity I visited El Salvador two months ago as part of a Regional Consultation on Migration looking into the plight of refugees fleeing violence and extreme poverty in Central America.
I'm home from a week of lobbying in Washington, D.C., on behalf of the refugee children on our southern border. There were 13 of us, 11 from Loretto and two from our Guatemalan sister community, Sagrada Familia. We had appointments with 25 senators and representatives, plus other drop-in visits. We crossed the Capitol between the House and Senate office buildings three or four times each day.
A Latin America expert for Catholic Relief Services, the head of the bishops' migration committee and the president of a Catholic college in Michigan were among those urging the government toward humanitarian responses to a surge of children and families crossing the U.S. border from Central America.
Making a Difference: What kind of welcome is being offered to the children fleeing desperate conditions? The answer to that question is still largely undetermined.