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.
Immigration and the Church
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.
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.
SUNLAND PARK, N.M. -- The compact car lifted a trail of dust as it traveled slowly along the 18-foot-tall chain-link fence, attracting the attention of the U.S. Border Patrol agent sitting in his green and white SUV.
Immigration Symposium, Oct. 19-20, 2011, San Antonio, Texas.
The office of Continuing Education for Ministry at MACC -- Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio, Texas, is holding an important immigration symposium October 19-20 with the title "Violence on the Border: Consequences and Pastoral Responses"
Bishop Daniel Flores, diocese of Brownsville, Texas, will deliver the keynote. Discussion topics include:
- How are communities of faith responding?
- What needs to be done to bring peace to the border?
- The Relationship between violence and immigration.
For more information or to download the program and registration forms:
The Arizona Daily Star reports on one immigrant's case and refers to stays of removal and to the sanctuary movement that occurred years ago in Tucson:
The Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church came within a wisp last week of becoming Tucson's first sanctuary church in two decades
Rev. Bill Remmel and the west Tucson church offered shelter to Alfonso Morales-Macias, a 41-year-old father of two facing deportation.
Ultimately, it doesn't appear Morales-Macias and his family will need sanctuary because Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials changed course and are now expected to approve a stay of removal for him, said his attorney, Margo Cowan. That would allow him to stay for one more year - putting him one step closer to being able to apply for legal residency when his U.S.-born daughter turns 21 in September 2013.
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Farmers are reporting their fruit and vegetable pickers have fled, leaving crops to rot in the field, and principals say many students have withdrawn from school as even legal U.S. residents flee Alabama after a harsh new immigration law took effect in late September.
Federal District Court Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn Sept. 28 lifted a temporary stay on the law, allowing most of its provisions to take effect. That includes a requirement that public schools inform the state and federal governments about which students cannot provide proof of legal residency in the U.S., and other provisions mandating that police check the papers of anyone they think might not be legal residents.
Within days, schools reported many children had stopped coming to school. Farmers said they immediately lost many of the workers they had lined up to pick their crops, even those who are U.S. citizens or who have permission to work here.
Upcoming event at Seton Hall University:
The Center for Catholic Studies and the Micah Institute for Business and Economics’ Fall 2011 Lecture, entitled And You Welcomed Me: Catholic Teaching, Immigrants and US Immigration Policy, will be presented October 27 at 5:30 p.m. in the Helen Lerner Amphitheatre in McNulty Hall at Seton Hall University. All are welcome to attend, and the event is free of charge.
The lecture and discussion will be presented by Donald Kerwin, Executive Director of the Center for Migration Studies, and Jill Gerschutz-Bell, Senior Legislative Specialist for Washington, D.C.’s Catholic Relief Services, who co-authored And You Welcomed Me: Migration and Catholic Social Teaching (Lexington Press, 2009), as well as Fr. Jack Martin of the Haiti Solidarity Network of the Northeast.
Click here for more information about the lecture.
Speaking at the event is Jill Gerschutz-Bell, who will also speak at
Celebration's upcoming Eucharist Without Borders conference in April 2012.
I just returned from eight weeks in Cuernavaca, a paradise just south of Mexico City, famous for its weather, its year-round profusion of flowers and its historic role as a portal for thousands of missionaries and college students on their way to Central America.
I lived with a host family and took Spanish classes at the school founded by Ivan Illich, the influential social critic of the 1960s and ’70s. I went south to immerse myself in a river of language flowing north to water the life and culture of the United States, including the church, now nearing 40 percent Latino membership. I went to Mexico to understand the complex forces driving migration and to find out whether the one baptism and Communion shared by Christians everywhere are stronger than the many borders that divide us. I went in search of the face of Jesus, the stranger who always reveals the future. I came home stuttering beginner’s Spanish (though my wife says I speak it fluently in my sleep) and eager to continue the journey.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- A federal judge jolted the national immigration debate on Sept. 28 by approving most parts of Alabama’s aggressive immigration law that religious leaders had called the “meanest” in the nation.
In a ruling hailed by many state officials, U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn refused to block much of Alabama’s far-reaching immigration law from going into effect.
Blackburn’s decision came after three separate challenges were filed by the U.S. Department of Justice; Catholic, Episcopal and United Methodist bishops; and a coalition of civil rights groups, unions and individuals who said they would be harmed by the law.
The Justice Department argued that immigration law enforcement rests with the federal government, and that states could not set up their own systems. Blackburn disagreed, saying Alabama’s efforts mirrored the federal government’s or were complementary.
Plaintiffs, led by the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, said they will seek an emergency delay of Blackburn’s order pending an appeal to the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.