Immigration and Immigrants
Catholic sisters have ministered in solidarity with new immigrants (like many of our great-grandparents) for hundreds of years. They’re at the forefront on US border and immigration issues -- both in direct service to new immigrants and refugees, and in creative advocacy for systemic solutions. Global Sisters Report held a 3/4/16 roundtable with seven leaders. It's a superb way to see what they see, what they're doing, and what they work towards amid our polarized politics. Article - full transcript - and video.
Learn and Act
- Current issues and opportunities to act now - Great monthly digest from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
- Root causes of migration - a pilgrimage to Honduras looked at causes and effects - insightful stories.
- LCWR passed its first resolution for comprehensive immigration reform in 1986, and many more since then. LCWR “Resolutions to Action” papers give two-page analyses of many immigration issues like: temporary protected status for Central-American immigrants and refugees, family detention, life and death on the border, family separation, welcoming the stranger today. Infographic on the Obstacles for Families Seeking Asylum and Due Process in the US.
- How to talk about migrants -- language to use and to avoid, and why.
- Pilgrimage Walks for Refugees - a way to walk in solidarity with migrants, right where you are, in union with pilgrimages all over the country. Examples: retired sisters in a nursing home; a Philadelphia walk. Here's your toolkit.
- Encounter dinners - a toolkit for you, your group, your parish, etc., to host a dinner where there's real connection across cultures, even if there are language differences.
- Catholic Accompaniment and Reflection Experiences (CARE) - a program from Justice for Immigrants (LCWR and USCCB partner) that connects volunteers with members of their communities who are undocumented immigrants, unaccompanied children, and their families in need of accompaniment and emotional, social service, and spiritual support.
- 10 Things You Can Do to Accompany Undocumented Immigrants
- Look for parish signs in other languages. Ask whether they have needs you want to fill as a volunteer.
- If you or your church want to give sanctuary to a refugee, here are things to consider.
- Excellent overall resources to understand issues and take action - Justice for Immigrants (JFI) from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC)
- Federal "rules" are the way the US government makes policy. You can comment on any proposed rule! Get involved in the federal rule-making process to raise your voice for rules that welcome migrants and refugees and treat them fairly, and against rules that do the opposite. Check regularly for action alerts on immigration policy proposals, from the US Catholic bishops' Justice for Immigrants website.
- Summaries of changes to immigration policy under this administration - also see topical options under the heading "Changes in Immigration Policy" on the same link
- Help immigrants to fill out their paperwork through CASA of Maryland, or for your local contact call Catholic Charities USA at 703-549-1390.
- “End Family Detention” poster for Twitter or Facebook.
- Excellent resources for at-risk immigrants and children and those who work with them from KIND (Kids In Need of Defense) and Pax Christi USA.
- Immigrant stories - good brief video from Catholic Charities USA, more Faces of Migration. “120 stories in 120 days” – how and why real people immigrated to the US – from Catholic Charities Atlanta. "Walk a minute in their shoes" - Sister Joyce Meyer's report of her virtual border experience as a participant in "CARNE y ARENA (Virtually Present, Physically Invisible)" by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, an Oscar-winning Mexican director, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Why do people flee their homes? How do they build new lives? The Seeking Refuge series from Global Sisters Report is outstanding - real stories told with context that conveys the systemic foundations of the global crisis and of the global successes.
- Integration of migrants and refugees into local community - examples of “a dynamic, two-way process in which newcomers and the receiving society work together to build secure, vibrant and cohesive communities.”
- You can support immigrant communities by spending money at their shops and restaurants.
- Pope Francis quotes - papal messages for the annual World Day of Migrants and Refugees
- Catholic Social Teaching on migration - notable quotes
- The Vatican website has solid resources on migrants and refugees, including 20 action points.
- Do a web search on "Immigration in _______" -- e.g., here's info for Maryland, where most Solidarity with Sisters members live: "More than one in seven Maryland residents is an immigrant, while one in nine is a native-born U.S. citizen with at least one immigrant parent. Roughly 15 percent of all Maryland residents were born in another country, while 11 percent are native-born Americans who have at least one immigrant parent. Immigrants support Maryland’s economy across sectors: a quarter of all Maryland healthcare practitioners, for example, are immigrants, as are nearly 42 percent of the state’s building maintenance workers and groundskeepers.... Nearly half of all immigrants in Maryland are naturalized U.S. citizens.... Most immigrants in Maryland have pursued education at or above the college level."
- For many ways to get involved, in direct service or behind-the-scenes roles, in this or other areas: Call your local Catholic Charities. There’s a very good chance you’ll meet sisters there, too.
More ways to do something for justice and peace
Spiritual leadership - Dialogue that transforms - Eco-Justice - Human Trafficking -
Racial justice - Nonviolence
Racial justice - Nonviolence