Migration Ministry

Visit Catholic Charities of Orange County’s Immigration & Citizenship Services page for more information.


Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Jesus calls us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Now, Pope Francis is calling us to share a journey with our neighbors – all our neighbors, not only those who live near us, look like us, speak like us or pray like us.

Our neighbors include many of the world’s most vulnerable people: migrants and refugees fleeing war, poverty and persecution, people who seek nothing more than basic needs and a path forward. Just like us, they are children of God, deserving of dignity and love. We as a church are answering the Pope’s call to encounter and walk with these migrants and refugees in support and solidarity. For more information & resource, please visit https://sharejourney.org/

“When a stranger resides with you in your land, do not molest him.  You shall treat the stranger 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 strangers in the land of Egypt.  I, the Lord, am your God.” – Leviticus 19:33-3

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.


New and Updated JFI Resources on Family Separation
After receiving a variety of questions about how “catch and release” relates to reunification and release of separated families, we have created a new resource,  FAQ on “Catch and Release” and Reunification of Separated Families, that can help provide more context and background on this issue and dispel the myths. Additionally, we have updated our “Five Things You Can Do to Help Separated Families and Prevent Family Detention” document, which is available in English and in Spanish. We are also in the process of updating our chart on legislation impacting family separation, which will be made available shortly. Stay tuned for more updates on our work assisting the reunified and recently released families!

Diocese of Orange Bishops:  On Taking Human Persons (And Holy Scripture) Out of Context

“As the Diocese of Orange, we feel it is important to address the misuse of Scripture to promote injustice and demand support for an immoral action. No credible Scripture scholar, commentary, or theologian would ever support such an interpretation.”

“God wants the flourishing, not separation, of migrant and refugee families.” #ShareJourney #FamiliesBelongTogether

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On this feast of the Immaculate heart of Mary (following the Sacred Heart of Jesus), read Bishop Vann on having a heart for migrants and refugees. #ShareJourney

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 Know Your Rights Cards/ Tarjetas Conozca Sus Derechos
If you are interested in ordering more KYRs cards for your parish, please contact our office.
Si estan interesados en ordenar mas tarjetas para su parroquia, favor de llamar a nuestra oficina. 

YOU HAVE RIGHTS regardless of your immigration status. You may be at risk of being deported if you are undocumented, if you are a non-citizen with a criminal history, if you are on parole, or have a prior deportation order. To protect yourself, your family and your community you must KNOW YOUR RIGHTS. Knowledge is power. Act NOW. Do not wait. Be prepared.

This guide contains:

  • What you need to know and what to do when encountering immigration agents, the police or FBI in different places
  • Information about how to read a warrant
  • Twelve things for you and your family to remember in ANY situation
  • Your Emergency Planning Checklist
  • Your Emergency Contact Information Sheet
  • Your plan for what to do if a loved one calls you from an immigration detention center or police station
  • Your Workplace Planning Checklist

Other materials/Otros materiales:

TAKE ACTION: Ways your parish can stay involved

  • Prayer
  • Parish Bulletin 
    • Via a bulletin insert or mass announcements, request that all interested parishioners, parish leaders and immigration lawyers create a parish immigration task force
  • Parish Organizing
    • 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.”
    • Organize an Immigration Listening session with parishioners utilizing Mission of Mercy materials. 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.
    • Organize Immigration Forums with reputable immigration service providers or attorneys that educate parishioners on “Know Your Rights,” “Opportunities for Legalization,” “Driver’s Licenses/ Privilege (AB 60), “Anti-Fraud Awareness,” etc.
    • Connect with Catholic Charities to organize Legal Screening Sessions in your parish
    • Hold Immigration Fee Drives to raise funds for an individual’s immigration filing fees
    • Hold a Christmas Card drive and donate Christmas Cards to the office of Restorative Justice/ Detention Ministry for their annual Operation Christmas Spirit where Christmas cards are given to detained immigrants in Orange County
    • Call or send postcards to your U.S. Senators and representatives asking that they pass just and compassionate immigration reform legislation
    • Accompany individuals to ICE Check– Ins
    • Help immigrant children with school enrollment
    • Provide transportation for individuals to Immigration Court
    • 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!


In 2004, the Catholic bishops of the United States committed to immigration reform as a priority of the U.S. Catholic Church, and to creating a culture of welcome in which all migrants are treated with respect and dignity. A diverse group of Catholic organizations with national networks joined the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Justice for Immigrants Campaign (JFI) in an effort to unite and mobilize a growing network of Catholic institutions, individuals, and other persons of goodwill in support of immigration reform. The JFI campaign’s primary objectives are:

  • To educate the public, especially the Catholic community, about Church teaching on migration and immigrants;
  • To create political will for just and humane immigration reform; and
  • Advocate for just and fair reforms in U.S. immigration and refugee laws and policies that reflect the principles enunciated by the bishops.

OC CATHOLIC CHARITIES1800 E. 17th Street Santa Ana, CA 92705 | 714-347-9664
Immigration, Citizenship, and Refugee Resettlement Center- Resettlement/Refugee, Immigration and Citizenship Center offers immigration assistance and legal document assistance.  Staff assists with applications for naturalization, adjustment of status, family petition, family unity, family reunification, student visa, work permit, green card for refugee, re-entry permit, citizenship for children.  Also offers free Citizenship Classes three times a month at the Center.
Immigration & Citizenship Flyer (Bilingual) | Citizenship Classes Flyer (Bilingual)

13121 Brookhurst St.Garden Grove, CA 92843
World Relief Garden Grove’s network of volunteers and partner churches resettle approximately 1% of all refugees entering the United States, providing language skills, job training and spiritual support to our new community members.

“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, 198