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The Church has celebrated the World Day of Migrants and Refugees each year since 1914. This is an occasion for the Church and people of faith to reflect upon the role migration has played in our tradition, express concern for migrants, refugees, and people on the move, and build awareness about the challenges and opportunities migration presents.
Modern Catholic social teaching is the body of social principles and moral teaching that is articulated in the papal, conciliar, and other official documents issued since the late nineteenth century dealing with the economic,political, and social order. This teaching is rooted in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures as well as in traditional philosophical and theological teachings of the Church.
Pope Francis has spoken out on immigration issues since the beginning of this papacy. CLINIC's "Quotes from Pope Francis" is a compilation of select excerpts from Pope Francis' homilies, messages, and teaching documents on immigration issues.
The Justice for Immigrants campaign, of which CLINIC is a part, has put together this Lenten toolkit (also available in Spanish) for parishes and communities to use during Lent. It offers weekly resources to accompany you through your Lenten journey. The resources are designed to help you reflect on the biblical call for immigration reform, and act to impact our current political reality.
Alabama's anti-immigrant law went into effect in September, causing confusion for nearly everyone in the state, because the law impacts every aspect of life for immigrants and those who interact with them. CLINIC's State and Local Project created an “Alabama Resource Center” -- a one-stop-shop for updates and materials, including Q&As in both English and Spanish, “know your rights” materials, and analyses of the court's decisions. CLINIC also matched immigration practitioners with family law experts, so everyone could better assist immigrant parents trying desperately to avoid separation from their children.
To help CLINIC support advocates working to combat anti-immigrant legislation, click here.
One of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Pro Bono Project attorneys has made significant inroads to enhance the rights of immigrants with mental disabilities. Representing a Jamaican immigrant with serious mental disabilities, the efforts of Janet Beck and her students at the University of Houston Law Center contributed to the Board Precedent decision, Matter of M-A-M. Thanks to Janet Beck and CLINIC, Immigration judges may no longer turn a blind eye to the issue of whether the respondents in their courts understand the proceedings against them.
to support this and other CLINIC initiatives
Dario feared for his life in his native country, but told no one at the detention facility because he was afraid that the news could get back to his country and put his parents and siblings at risk. An LOPC staff member explained the concepts of confidentiality and attorney-client privilege to the child’s potential custodian and assured her that the child would be screened by a local non-profit program, at which point the child should not hesitate to speak candidly about his fear of persecution. The potential custodian said she would encourage Dario to tell the truth to the attorneys at the facility where he was being detained.
To help CLINIC support immigrants like Dario,
Having grown up in New York, Lutu (age 22), was about to start his final year in college when he was stopped for a minor traffic violation. Due to his status as an undocumented immigrant, Lutu was taken into Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody and paid a $10,000 bond. Nevertheless, Lutu was rearrested and detained after voluntarily returning to the ICE office. Thanks to his Catholic Charities attorney and CLINIC’s advocacy efforts, ICE released Lutu and deferred his deportation to Uruguay for a year so that he could complete his college degree in the U.S.
To help CLINIC support immigrants like Lutu,
Jessica and Ana (ages 5 and 11) were released into the custody of their uncle, who they had never met before. The uncle initially refused to let the childrens’ mother see the girls. When Jessica and Ana eventually went to live with their mother, the uncle refused to give the girls’ immigration court documents to their mother. The LOPC Project Coordinator referred Jessica and Ana’s immigration claims to an attorney. The Coordinator also spoke with the uncle, explaining the importance of the girls’ court documents to their immigration case. Subsequently, the uncle agreed to turn over the court documents to the attorney representing the girls.
To help CLINIC support immigrants like Jessica and Ana,
Due to political violence erupting in Kenya, Fr. Jamil’s mother was forced to flee her home and rebuild her life. Fr. Jamil, a Kenyan priest working in the U.S., needed to temporarily return to Kenya to take care of his mother during this time of unrest. His religious worker visa expired, however, and the delay in processing Fr. Jamil’s visa petition would prevent his immediate return to Kenya. CLINIC staff attorneys wrote a letter to the Department of Homeland Security explaining his situation and Fr. Jamil’s visa petition received expedited processing. He was able to leave for Kenya in two weeks. Later, Fr. Jamil returned to the U.S. with a new visa to continue his priestly ministry.
To help CLINIC support immigrants like Fr. Jamil,
A school in rural North Carolina refused to enroll Silvia because her custodian was not the child’s parent or legal guardian. After the Legal Orientation Program for Custodians (LOPC) staff in Harlingen educated Silvia’s custodian and the school about the child’s right to receive an education, she was eventually enrolled in school. LOPC staff also referred Silvia's immigration case to local legal aid agencies and reported the school issue to the Charlotte LOPC site for follow-up with the state board of education.
To help CLINIC support immigrants like Silvia,
Mrs. Gonzalez, an 85 year old grandmother, dreamed of becoming a U.S. citizen ever since she received her green card. However, she felt intimidated due to her age, her lack of English, and the cumbersome application process. Catholic Charities staff helped her apply for an English exemption based on her age and long-term residency, helped her prepare for the U.S. history and civics test, and cheered her on at every stage of the process. She became a proud U.S. citizen in August 2011.
To help CLINIC support immigrants like Mrs. Gonzalez,
After Margarita’s long battle to win asylum from the abusive father of her children and his fellow gang members, she was able to reunite with her two sons. Her eldest son is receiving an education she never thought possible because of his learning disability. She is now on the path to becoming a citizen of the country she is proud to call home.
On May 10, 2005, the U.S. Catholic Bishops launched the Justice for Immigrants (JFI) Campaign in an effort to educate Catholics, including Catholic public officials, and other people of good will, about Catholic social teaching concerning immigrants. The goals of the Campaign are to raise the awareness about the positive contributions of immigrants to our society and to advocate for changes in immigration law. Congress should provide an orderly and safe pathway for undocumented people to integrate into our society.