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Immigration and the Church

Immigration Reform Gathering to Convene April 2012

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Eucharist Without BordersCelebration, the monthly worship resource and sister publication of NCR, will host its fourth annual event on effective liturgy April 11-13, 2012.

Eucharist Without Borders: God's Welcoming Table and Comprehensive Immigration Reform will explore the Catholic church's calling to promote just immigration policy reform. The title of this conference highlights the truth that the Christian church cannot celebrate Eucharist and ignore the plight of undocumented immigrants. For Catholics, wherever Mass is celebrated, there can be no strangers, no borders and no closed doors.

The program is directed at pastors, preachers, liturgical ministers and social activists who seek to make evident that what happens in worship is directly linked to what happens on our nation's borders and in our communities.

Sisters of Mercy plan public witness in Chicago

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On Saturday, June 25 at 9:30 a.m. more than 400 Sisters of Mercy along with leadership and members of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the Eighth Day Center for Justice, and the Chicago Archdiocesan Office of Immigrant Affairs will be gathering on the grounds of Saint Xavier University in Chicago to take a stand against deportation of immigrants.

Tougher immigration enforcement ignores the humanitarian needs of migrants

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TUCSON, ARIZ. — Every day, the courtroom in the De Concini Federal Courthouse which hosts Operation Streamline is typically full of 70 men and women from various parts of Mexico and Central America. Processed in groups, they are divided up into groups of people who will receive the same sentence. Each group, listening to the proceedings through interpretation headphones, waits its turn to be called in front of the Magistrate. Each person is given a plea bargain that has been created in advance between prosecutors for the U.S. Government, and defense attorneys who have met with each defendant for a few minutes that morning.

State action on immigration distracts from federal efforts

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Not able to get much traction on immigration reform at the federal level, activists have shifted their focus to stopping bills in their state legislatures in order to draw attention to the need for federal reform. Catholic bishops followed the trend in their home states and sent their lobbyists, known as state Catholic conferences, into capitols to influence the hundreds of bills before their legislatures.

In 2010 alone, “more than 1,400 bills were introduced, 208 laws were enacted, 10 were vetoed, and 138 resolutions were adopted” regarding immigration-related state laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures Web site.

Utah and Florida, for example, ended their legislative sessions in March and May, respectively, with Utah passing four immigration bills and Florida leaving behind two.

Mexican Catholics working with undocumented migrants welcome new law

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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.

Catholics welcome new law for undocumented

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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