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Lent: A Reform of the Heart

Mar 8, 2013
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.

Immigration Policy and New Estimates of the U.S. Unauthorized Population

Feb 20, 2013
Don Kerwin
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

A Lenten Call to Embrace Acts of Charity

Feb 12, 2013
CIT Workshop
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'

CLINIC Holds Unique, “Mega” Workshop Training Event in Los Angeles

Jan 28, 2013
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

Do Immigration Laws Deny Religious Freedom?

Jan 7, 2013
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.  

Joyful Anticipation

Dec 19, 2012
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,

Las Posadas: An Invitation to Hospitality

Dec 11, 2012
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

Advent and the Year of Faith: a Time for Renewed Spiritual Commitment

Dec 4, 2012
Tessa Winkler

Are you ready?  No, I'm not asking if you've decorated your Christmas tree or crossed items off of your shopping list.  Have you considered how you will embark on the journey of faith that is encouraged of each of us during this season of Advent and, particularly, in the Church's "Year of Faith?"

In his "Motu Propio," Porta Fidei, Pope Benedict XVI declared October 11, 2012 to November 24, 2013 as the "Year of Faith" and invited the faithful everywhere to "communicate Christ to individuals and all people in the Church's pilgrimage along the pathways of history."  The season of Advent is the perfect time to get serious about preparing ourselves for a new year filled with faithful service. 

The Only DREAM That Shines Brighter Than the Arizona Sun…

Nov 6, 2012
Emmanuel Villegas

Imagine sleeping on the sidewalk in 90+ degree Arizona weather with only a manila envelope full of documents as your pillow. To the average youth, this may seem like the ultimate torture. To others, it may seem as the norm as they await the release of the newest smart phone or the latest version of that coveted videogame. But to a select few, this sacrifice is only the beginning of a bright future.

It has been more than four months since President Barack Obama announced his plans to implement the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in the United States. Ever since his announcement for an August 15th start date it seems as though non-profit organizations such as our own have been on a non-stop mission to complete as many DACA applications as humanly possible.

A Helping Hand: The Road towards a Better Future

Oct 24, 2012
Alfredo Rivas

I’m Alfredo Rivas and I have been living in the United States for 11 years.   My arrival in the United States was a confusing time, but one thing I knew was that I wanted to be together with my family.  The thought of being separated from them would be like waking up in a dark room, where no matter where you look, all you find is darkness.   As time progressed, I quickly found myself falling in love with this country and everything it stands for.  I have made many close friends and valuable memories that I will forever treasure.  The thought that I could one day wake up in a place other than the United States is frightening.  That’s why Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) means so much to me.

DACA means opportunities;  finally being able to contribute and make a difference in this country.  It’s like the beltway system with multiple roads and exits, each of them leading to a different