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Launch of Fast4Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship November 12th, 2013
On Tuesday, November 12, faith, labor leaders and immigrant right organization launched Fast4Families to put pressure on the leadership in the House of Representatives to bring to the floor for a vote on bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill this year.
In Washington, DC the fast will run from November 12 to December 12 at the “fasting tent” on the National Mall. The fast will be in conjunction with dozens of local and solidarity fasts, events, and actions already underway in key congressional districts across the country.
If you can’t make it to DC, you are invited to stand in solidarity to fast and pray for comprehensive immigration reform. Let us know what day (November 12 to December 12) you will be fasting for comprehensive immigration reform.
More information on fast prayer samples, declaration and Fast4Families events within your state visit: http://fast4families.org/
Mass for Immigration Reform – Sunday, September 8 August 28th, 2013
Catholics and other people of faith are encouraged to pray and act in solidarity with migrants on Sunday, September 8. On that Sunday, Catholic bishops and priests from all major dioceses across the country will preach a coordinated message supporting immigration policy. The Mass for Immigration Reform action on September 8th is to urge Members of Congress to pass immigration reform legislation that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Please make use of the following resources in your parish on September 8th:
- Homily Helps for August – Sept. 8 from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Bulletin Insert, Urging the U.S. House to Pass Bi-partisan Immigration Reform Legislation
- Intercessions to be used during the Mass for immigration reform.
More information available at www.justiceforimmigrants.org
“Deferred Action to Help Young Immigrants” Turns One Year Old August 16th, 2013
It has been a year since President Obama issued Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a presidential initiative designed to grant a two-year reprieve from deportation and offer work authorization to young undocumented immigrants. U.S. Immigration Offices first accepted applications for DACA on August 15, 2012. DACA does not provide a path to permanent legal status but does allow young immigrants to obtain work permits. For the thousands of undocumented immigrants who have received this relief, the initiative has created an opportunity to obtain work and education without fear of deportation.
If you have questions about DACA, go to the US Government website on Immigration to find answers. Here are a few of the basics:
What are the requirements to apply for Deferred Action?
You must be younger than 31 as of June 15th, 2012; Entered the United States before your 16th birthday; Present in the United States on June 15th, 2012; Continuously resided in the United States for at least five years; Currently enrolled in school, completed high school in the U.S., achieved a GED or were honorably discharged from the United States military or Coast Guard; And not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three or more other misdemeanor offenses not arising from the same act or scheme of misconduct or are otherwise seen as posing a national security or public safety threat. For help with your application visit our application services page.
What are the risks involved in applying for Deferred Action?
The primary risk involved in applying for Deferred Action is that you are exposing yourself as an illegal immigrant to the United States government. If you feel that your case is particularly complicated or you have had a strange history or record in the U.S., you may want to consider using a competent immigration attorney.
As DACA turns a year old, this initiative is something to celebrate. However, more action is needed, especially by the U.S. House of Representatives. Many of these legalized young immigrants continue to live with the fear that their mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters may face deportation in the absence of comprehensive immigration reform. For the faith community, the coming months are important. When Congress returns to Washington, D.C. in September, we need to call, once again, for action to address the need for comprehensive immigration reform, which we see as a humanitarian issue with moral implications.
Nuns on the Bus for Immigration May 31st, 2013
The nuns are visiting cities across America to advocate for humane immigration policies that protect family unity, workers’ rights and provide a pathway to citizenship for those already in the U.S.
Visit the website for the Nuns on the Bus to know when they might visit your city. Follow the nuns on twitter and facebook to support the advocacy for comprehensive immigration reform!
California Catholic Bishops Call for Immigration Reform May 3rd, 2013
Catholic Bishops in California have announced their support for immigration reform legislation, outlining key elements essential in any legislation to protect the rights of undocumented immigrant workers and their families in the U.S. The Most Rev. Gerald Wilkerson, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and president of the California Catholic Conference, released a statement on May 1 in recognition of the historic introduction of bipartisan immigration reform legislation in the US Senate. Rallies in support of immigration reform have been taking place throughout California.
Here is the full text of the Bishops’ statement:The California Catholic Conference of Bishops, in solidarity with all the bishops of the nation, applauds the introduction of U.S. Senate bipartisan legislation to reform the broken U.S. immigration system. Throughout our dioceses, as pastors called by the Good Shepherd to care for those in need, we are sharing our own immigration stories and teaching the principles found in our Catholic Social Teaching. For many years we have advocated for comprehensive reform of the nation’s immigration laws. Our country has a right and responsibility to protect its borders, and effective immigration laws are part of that enforcement. Right now, however, the current system fails both the nation and those seeking to contribute to American society. We believe that the necessary elements for reform ought to include:
- An earned path to full legal status, and eventual citizenship, that is reasonable and attainable;
- Provision for immigrants brought here as minors to swiftly gain legal status to continue their education and enter the workforce;
- The reduction of immigration application backlogs so that families may be united more quickly;
- A temporary worker program that is safe, workable for families, and fair to all workers, immigrants and non-immigrants, alike;
- Restoration of due process protections restored for all immigrants involved with the immigration justice system;
- The protection of refugees and unaccompanied immigrant children; and
- A way of addressing the root causes of immigration.
Faith, Business Leaders Encouraged by Immigration Bill April 25th, 2013
Houston’s faith and business leaders held a press conference to signal their support for immigration reform legislation introduced last week in Congress. The Rev. Kevin Collins, OMI pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, joined other members of TMO (The Metropolitan Organization) in calling for support for the bill. TMO is a faith-based community organization in Houston that has been actively pressing for a solution to the broken immigration system.
The legislation, an initiative of a bipartisan group of senators, is the first major overhaul of U.S. immigration policy since 1986.