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Unaccompanied Migrant Children and the "Pursuit of Hope"

Tragic images of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S.-Mexico border are flooding the airwaves, begging a humanitarian response, as well as hard questions.  Why are these children coming here?  Why now and why in such large numbers?  According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, approximately 57,000 unaccompanied minors have crossed into the United States since the 2014 fiscal year began in October—twice the number apprehended in 2013 and three times the 2011 total.

A Pastoral Response to a Humanitarian Crisis

Like most of us these days, we are all faced with how to respond in a pastoral way to the humanitarian challenges in front of us with unaccompanied minors coming into our country. I recently visited with a number of these young people with some of our staff members of the Diocesan Pastoral Center here in Orange.

Maryland Law Expands Eligibility for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) allows undocumented minors who have suffered abandonment, neglect, or abuse by a parent to become lawful permanent residents.  To qualify, the child must have an order from a juvenile court demonstrating that he or she is dependent on the state and cannot be safely reunited with parents.  Federal law allows children under the age of 21 to qualify, but many potential beneficiaries between the ages of 18 and 21 are left out.  Their state courts only have jurisdiction over children younger than 18, so they cannot obtain the necessary court order to appl

The Immigration Journey of Sr. Bertha L. Montiel STJ

I was born in Managua, Nicaragua, the second of 5 children. I was about 15 months old when I had my first contact with the United States of America. This happened through my father returning home after spending a year at the University of Florida, Gainsville in a graduate course of Sanitary Engineering.

Catholic Charities of Indianapolis Expands its Welcome to New Americans

The Midwest has a history as a gateway for immigrants even if not as heralded as port cities in the east and west.  Think of Chicago with its diverse ethnic population as early as the late 1800’s, especially among Eastern Europeans, that continues today with the largest Bosnian refugee population in the country.  Think also of Detroit, Motor City, at the turn of the last century when Ford Motor Company attracted immigrant workers from Southern Europe and the Middle East to build the earliest automobiles.  Detroit now has the largest Middle Eastern population in the United States, most recen

Celebrating U.S. Citizenship

As we celebrate our country’s birthday and independence on the Fourth of July, many of us will contemplate what it means to be Americans.  Being an American for the foreign-born goes beyond the ability to vote in elections or obtain a U.S. passport.  Many immigrants already feel American at heart long before they take their first step to becoming naturalized U.S. citizens – a pre-requisite to vote and obtain a passport.  Many of them have integrated into their communities long before – going to weekly church services, volunteering in their children’s schools, and paying their taxes. 

A Voice For Children: Bishop Seitz’s Testimony Before the House of Representatives

On June 25, 2014, Bishop Mark Seitz of the Diocese of El Paso testified before the House Judiciary Committee about the plight of unaccompanied minors seeking safety from violence and drug trafficking in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.  Bishop Seitz told a largely unsympathetic House Committee of his personal experience listening to the st

Affiliate Highlight: Kellie Draper

Our affiliate highlight this month is Kellie Draper of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Grand Island, Nebraska. Recommended by Program Director Rev. Jonathan Sorensen, Kellie brings commitment, passion, and years of experience to her role as a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Fully Accredited Representative.

Celebrating Immigrant Heritage Month

This June marks the first annual Immigrant Heritage Month. This nationwide effort focuses on gathering and telling the inspirational stories of how immigrants shaped the history and culture of the United States. Historically, the United States has been known as a land of immigrants; between 1820 and 1930, the U.S. absorbed about 60% of the world’s immigrants. It wasn’t until the Page Act of 1875 that the first attempt to limit the number of immigrants entering the country occurred.

The Immigration Journey of Fr. Gustavo Adolfo Montañez

 I believe that dreams come true and that a good dream becomes true life. Without dreams, all we have is reality. Sometimes on our most important dreams, all we can do is give them our best shot, hope for the highest good, and let go. Knowing I could use all the help available, I contacted CLINIC to fulfill my dream in becoming a Citizen of United States of America. 

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