Recent Blog Entries
- New Americans Campaign comes together for Citizenship Drive in Los Angeles
- Ushering in a New Season for CLINIC and our 11 Million Undocumented Neighbors
- Living in God's Image, Embracing the Immigrant
- Lent: A Reform of the Heart
- Immigration Policy and New Estimates of the U.S. Unauthorized Population
- A Lenten Call to Embrace Acts of Charity
- CLINIC Holds Unique, “Mega” Workshop Training Event in Los Angeles
- Do Immigration Laws Deny Religious Freedom?
- Joyful Anticipation
- Las Posadas: An Invitation to Hospitality
By: Eric Cohen
On Saturday May 4, 2013, nearly 150 immigrants and their families from all over the world trekked to southern Los Angeles County and eagerly waited in line for their chance to take the crucial next step to becoming an American citizen. The huge Inglewood church quickly filled with the sounds of many languages, from Spanish to Vietnamese to Hindi, as volunteers and immigrant service providers smoothly filtered and ushered groups of eligible legal permanent residents through a step by step journey through the naturalization process.
Many of the attending immigrants had been eligible for citizenship for years, but were intimidated by the confusing paperwork, the long struggle to navigate the inefficient system and the expensive $680 application fee.
By: Jeanne M. Atkinson
Spring has sprung at the CLINIC offices in Washington, DC. Flowering cherry blossom trees are in bloom and as the weather transitions from winter to summer, this season brings with it the promise of renewal, rebirth, and growth. For our 11 million undocumented neighbors and the CLINIC family, this spring, in particular, presents hope for compassionate immigration reform and an air of preparation for a possible pathway to citizenship for those seeking legal status.
As CLINIC's new Executive Director, a fresh season in my life has begun, as well. Having come from the CLINIC network, I look forward to meeting the challenges and opportunities of legalization with an intimate understanding of the needs of grassroots charitable legal immigration service providers. I am particularly interested in hearing from our programs around the country about how we, at CLINIC, can support the work you do to serve the immigrant community. Our community of practitioners has welcomed me with open arms and it is my hope that I may engage CLINIC's affiliates with a similar vitality.
By: Joanna Rathkey
As is demonstrated in the life and leadership of Pope Francis, the newly elected pontiff and leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, we, as faithful brothers and sisters, are called to love the poor and downtrodden; and, what better way to embody this, during the Lenten season, than to embrace the struggles of the immigrant.
Amidst the political debate and angst surrounding comprehensive immigration reform, we too often lose sight of the ethical implications legislation may have on the practice of our Catholic faith and communities. God calls us to love all people: our neighbors, both known and unknown, “legal” and “illegal,” rich and poor. When we reach out to our neighbors, we are reaching out to God. When we embrace the poor, we are embracing God. When we love the migrant as we would love ourselves, we love God.
By: Tomás Bethencourt
Immigration reform has the potential to help the economy, create jobs, bring undocumented residents out of the shadows, and clarify the status of residents who aren’t recognized by the state. While these are reasons enough to endorse humane immigration policies, we are reminded during the Lenten season that any reform should ultimately begin end with the human person.
As lawmakers discuss comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) this session, the conversation often turns to how much money immigrants bring into the pot and how many jobs may result from changes to legislation. During these 40 days of Lent, as we are reminded of Christ’s ultimate purpose on earth, we should also be reminded of our responsibilities as Christians. Christ did not die and rise again on Easter Sunday for a select few, but for all humanity.
By: Don Kerwin
Click here for the original Huff Post blog.
A recently released report on the U.S. unauthorized population comes at a politically charged moment, as Congress begins in earnest to consider immigration reform and a possible path to citizenship for the nation's unauthorized residents. The report, co-authored by Robert Warren, former demographer of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, and John Robert Warren, professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota, puts the size of the unauthorized population at 11.7 million as of January 2010. The report's findings are highly relevant to the U.S. immigration debate.
First, the report documents modest success in meeting a goal shared by partisans on both sides of the immigration divide; i.e., reducing the unauthorized population. It finds that unauthorized "arrivals" or "inflows" declined in every state but Mississippi (and Washington, D.C.) between 2000 and 2009. Over the same period, "departures" or "outflows" from this population increased in every state. In some states, unauthorized
By: Tessa Winkler
Do you know the three tenets of Lenten observance? No, they're not "giving up chocolate," exercising daily" or "reading the newspaper." To better understand the paschal mystery, we are called to prayer, fasting and almsgiving. It may be difficult to imagine embracing these pillars of Lenten practice over the next 40 days but, I believe a focus on almsgiving may be a gratifying and benevolent way to start on your journey toward a more holy life.
There are so many worthy causes in need of attention, time and resources but, due to the Old Testament symbolism of Lent, immigration is a perfect fit for those looking for a natural and relevant area deserving volunteer commitment. The 40 day duration of Lent is based on two Biblical stories; one of which is the Israelites'
By: Laura Burdick
On November 16 and 17, CLINIC provided a unique training event in Los Angeles on how to plan and implement a large scale, “mega” group application workshop. The first of its kind, this two-day event combined one day of interactive, hands-on training and a second day of experience participating in an actual mega workshop organized by Catholic Charities of Los Angeles. The goal of this event, held at the Mid-Valley Regional Branch Library in North Hills, California, was to promote the effective use of mega workshops to serve immigrants on a large scale with naturalization and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications.
The participants were immigration legal staff from 31 organizations and six states representing
By: Miguel A. Naranjo
Religious freedom is a cornerstone of our democracy. But what happens when the laws of our country prohibit the pursuit and participation of our Catholic faith? A common but little discussed issue in the world of religious immigration law involves those undocumented persons who are called to religious life. A young man or woman is called by God to become a Catholic Sister, Brother, or Priest but because of his/her immigration status, he/she is unable to fulfill the call or faces many obstacles to pursuing religious life. A person may be turned away from a religious community or Diocese for fear of harboring an undocumented person or employing an undocumented person. Even if a religious community or Diocese accepts a promising candidate for religious life, the risk of removal and deportation remains.
By: Michelle Sardone
As we enter into this third week of Advent, it is important to recall what we celebrated on Gaudete or Rejoice Sunday. The first two readings this Sunday spoke of joy and the joyful anticipation that all of us now have for the arrival of Christmas and the birth of Jesus. In fact, this year has been filled with many moments of joyful anticipation.
The calendar year began with a proposed new process for unlawful presence waivers for certain immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. Families that would have had long separations waiting for their waiver applications to be approved will now spend that time together. These families are joyfully anticipating the final process to be announced.
This summer, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process was also announced,
By: Maura Moser
Beginning this Sunday, December 16, through Christmas Eve many Catholic communities will celebrate Las Posadas. In this Advent procession, the faithful re-enact the journey of Joseph and Mary as they seek shelter, or posada, and are repeatedly turned away until finally welcomed into a home where a celebration takes place.
Las Posadas is a communal expression of faith that reminds us of the humble beginnings of Jesus Christ and how the idea of welcoming the stranger began with his own birth. The theme of migration and invitation to hospitality would continue throughout his earthly life -- from the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt to escape persecution to Jesus’ itinerant ministry. As Blessed John Paul II asked in his World Migration Day message in 2000, “How can the