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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

On the Road to the American Dream

Oct 10, 2012
Fernanda DeSouza

Thirteen years is a very long time.  Thirteen years is a little over half my life.  Thirteen years is how long I have called America my home.  And it has taken that long for me to finally feel a certain weight off my shoulders.  Being a DREAMer has been a long road.  Not only have the simplest things in life proven to be an  obstacle but also discouraging because knowing that my life was in the hands of strangers on Capitol Hill was a hard pill to swallow.

Albeit, it has been difficult to be barred from holding a driver’s license, traveling abroad, or receiving scholarships, however, the hardest part has been lying to those around me to ward off  their questions.  After having moved across the United States and seeing and doing the things I have, the last thing I want to do is lie to others and not be true to myself.  But naturally, there was nothing I could legally do to pursue my American Dream.

Citizenship: It Changes Your Life

Sep 21, 2012
Rommel Calderwood

With Citizenship Day on September 17th, I would like to reflect on my experience working  with a national multi-organizational initiative to encourage the country's lawful permanent residents (LPR) to become U.S. citizens.  In every facet of society, immigrants are integral members in the economy and the political discourse.  With this in mind, CLINIC has pursued steps to reach the approximate 8 million LPRs who are eligible to become citizens.

As part of this collaborative,  I was fortunate to have the opportunity to help with the planning and implementation of CLINIC's first professional multimedia campaign known as La Ciudadanía: Cambia Tu Vida (Citizenship: It Changes Your Life).   The initiative, in partnership with Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, strives to motivate the 1.2 million legal permanent residents in Los Angeles to become U.S. citizens through an eclectic package of television, radio, and print public service announcements (PSA).  

Reflecting on Prosecutorial Discretion: A Year Later

Sep 4, 2012
Lauren Graham Sullivan

Over a year ago, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it would focus its resources on the highest priority cases. This effort to implement new enforcement standards through the exercise of prosecutorial discretion (PD) had me doing back flips as I read the guidance addressed to all ICE directors, chief counsel, and field officers. This memo and the statements that followed signaled a change in the enforcement practices and priorities of ICE – the same agency that conducted factory raids in 2007 that resulted in the detention and deportation of breastfeeding mothers and other vulnerable populations.

As the months passed, I realized that the PD memos had less of an impact than I had hoped. Just last week, one of my pro bono attorneys reported that an ICE officer didn’t know about PD, and once informed, wrote a one-sentence response stating that ICE would “decline to exercise PD in [his] client’s case.” There was no discussion of the equities, which in this case

Opening Day for Deferred Action!

Aug 16, 2012
Susan Schreiber

Dateline Chicago, August 15, 2012, 7:30 a.m.  Rounding the curve to park at Navy Pier, my jaw dropped at the sight of a thousand or more young adults gathered on the lawn and sidewalks in front of the Pier, waiting for the 8 a.m. check-in time for the deferred action mega-workshop sponsored by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR).  I had volunteered to be a legal screener so I hurried to arrive at my assigned post before 8:00.   

Once inside the building, I headed to the grand ballroom – the primary site for application support services, including eligibility assessment and legal screening, application preparation and exit review. At that point, I realized that the crowd outside were the late arrivals – hundreds and hundreds of eager applicants had waited at Navy Pier overnight to apply as soon as the doors opened for business.  They were joined by thousands more who arrived in the early morning hours. Although some people were still waking up from their overnight vigil when I arrived,

Advocates React to Arizona's "Papers, Please" Mandate

Jul 31, 2012
Karen Siciliano Lucas

The Supreme Court came so close to blocking Arizona’s “papers, please” mandate in June and its failure to do so has serious consequences for immigrant advocates and the communities they serve.  In addition to claiming that  the Court could not really tell what the mandate meant, it also drew a distinction between arresting or detaining someone for possible unlawful presence (which states cannot do on their own) and simply “communicating” with the federal government about someone’s immigration status (which states can do). 

In practice, this is a false distinction.  And it is one that will continue to permit biased, pre-textual police behavior to shape the federal removal process; it is also one that puts CLINIC affiliates on the front lines of the need to meet  an increased demand for charitable legal services and state and local advocacy efforts.

For example, one evening last July, while talking a stroll through a park near their

Advocate Inspired by a DREAM

Jul 17, 2012
Allison Posner

In the month since the President announced the policy to grant Deferred Action to DREAMers, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work with many extraordinary and inspiring young people.  From the young woman whose family got legal “help” from someone who only filed papers for the parents but not their children, to the Ivy Leaguer who, when he learned he was undocumented, began reading the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to search for answers, every one of the young high school students and graduates that I have met has expressed the same feeling – hope. 

They have always had hope -- even when many of the more seasoned advocates around them despaired -- that by working together, supporting each other and developing as leaders, they would find a way to bring about change.  Now their hope is for a future which can include schooling and employment, not deportation and separation from their families and the only way of life they have ever known.    

At CLINIC, we have hope for these young people too.  But there are still so many questions

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