ministries + services

Immigration Ministry

 


“The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin…” CCC2241Ex

“When an alien resides with you in your land, do not molest him.  You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; have the same love for him as yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt.  I, the Lord, am your God.” – Leviticus 19:33-3


OVERVIEW

Immigration has a variety of root causes.  Family reunification, seeking economic stability with employment, civil unrest or war in one’s homeland and climate change rendering one’s ancestral lands uninhabitable all lead people to migrate.  Biblical justice echoes a call to welcome the stranger, as one of the most vulnerable segments of the population.  This is especially true today when they lack documentation and the associated legal safeguards for their physical safety and protection from economic exploitation by employers.   Federal legislation to address comprehensive immigration reform could alleviate current inequities to respect the human dignity of immigrants in ways such as bringing undocumented workers into the economic system and out of the shadows of a two tier labor market and helping families reunite more expediently than the current process that can take up to a decade.  Legislative reform could also eliminate the harrowing journeys many migrants travel.  Helping immigrants integrate into our communities can be an opportunity for parish social ministry to coordinate ESL classes (English as a Second Language), offer workshops on citizenship, locate housing and offer job resources.  Individuals can share their talents to welcome immigrants by volunteering with organizations like Catholic Charities.


DIOCESAN RESOURCES

The Office of Life, Justice and Peace has developed new resources for use by parishes and with immigrant families – please find them below in English & Spanish:

 

“Thanksgiving Days: Remembering Our Family History”

Thanksgiving Days are ones at which the most family members generally come together during the course of the year. Since several generations are present, it is a superb opportunity to have the senior family members tell their own family stories: where did their parents and grandparents come from? When and how? What was life like in those days? Invite them to share some of their favorite family stories. Through this family sharing process, it will become obvious that all our families are immigrant families—little different from the immigrant families living in our midst today. More on parish and family activities in  English  | Spanish  | Vietnamese


WAYS PARISHES CAN GET INVOLVED

Bulletin Inserts from the California Catholic Conference:

Prayers for Immigrants:

Pastoral Care

  • Follow and encourage aspiring citizens to become part of advocacy actions. Listen to the stories of immigrants in your community and, as they are willing, empower the undocumented to tell their stories to enlighten others to immigrant realities.
  • Host Community Forums for Immigrants (Led by Immigrants) to Inform and Protect the Community around Driver’s Licenses/Privilege (AB60), Anti-Fraud Awareness, DACA, etc.
  • Sponsor registration drives to encourage all to register at their parish (this helps with documents, length of time in country, etc.)
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – Encourage all who might qualify to begin or continue in the process through Catholic Charities and host information session at your parish (contact Office of Life, Justice & Peace for more info).
  • Sponsor registration drives to encourage all to register at their parish (this helps with documents, length of time in country, etc.)
  • Encourage all aspiring citizens to keep and collect any documents that prove how long they have been resident in the U.S.
    •  In addition to documents related to employment and/or school, these include rent receipts and utility bills, military records, hospital or medical records, official records from a religious entity confirming the applicant’s participation in a religious ceremony, copies of correspondence between the applicant and another individual, money order receipts, dated bank transactions, vehicle registration and “other relevant documents.”

Immigration Reform

  • Pastoral Responses to Immigration Reform – Suggestions of how you and your parish can engage in pastoral and political action around immigration reform. You will find three tiers, reflecting different levels and types of engagement. Build up or try one from each. In any case, act!
  • Send this Electronic Postcard to your U.S. Senators and Representatives asking that they pass just and compassionate immigration reform legislation (Even more effective: coordinate a massive mailing, emailing, or calling campaign in large numbers at your parish).
  • Petition and Gather Signatures


IMMIGRATION ISSUES

RESOURCES ON THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS OF UNACCOMPANIED MINORS AT THE BORDER

BRIDGE ACT
On December 22nd, the USCCB sent a letter in support of the BRIDGE Act. The BRIDGE Act is a bipartisan legislative solution to protect DACA youth. The letter of support is the first attachment. If possible, please share the letter with your network, groups and other partners and on social media.

The second attachment has talking points you can use to support the BRIDGE Act now and in any upcoming meetings.

The third attachment is to provide background information on DACA.

With the start of the new Congressional session, we have learned that Senators Durbin and Graham do intend to introduce the BRIDGE Act in the future. Additionally, there is hope that the BRIDGE Act will be introduced in a bipartisan manner in the House as well.

Please stay tuned to an action alert we may launch in the near future to support the BRIDGE Act.


CATHOLIC DOCUMENTS ON IMMIGRATION REFORM


“A change of attitude towards migrants and refugees is needed on the part of everyone, moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization – all typical of a throwaway culture – towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world.”  — Pope Francis, Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 2014

“The Church supports the human rights of all people and offers them pastoral care, education, and social services, no matter what the circumstances of entry into this country, and it works for the respect of the human dignity of allespecially those who find themselves in desperate circumstances.” — Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity, A Statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops

“Every human being has the right to freedom of movement and of residence within the confines of his own state. When there are just reasons in favor for it, he must be permitted to migrate to other countries and to take up residence there. The fact that he is a citizen of a particular state does not deprive him of membership to the human family, nor of citizenship in the universal society, the common, world-wide fellowship of men.” — John Paul II, Address to the New World Congress on the Pastoral Care of Immigrants (October 17, 1985)