“Migrants –including children, immigrants, refugees, and victims of human trafficking– are our spiritual brothers and sisters,” said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration. “They often find themselves isolated, alone and separated from family, their ability to live out their lives in fullness severely restricted. Often family members are separated from one another because of deportation, detention, or related immigration laws that inhibit family reunification.”
As part of the 2015 National Migration Week celebration, the USCCB established a small grant program that will provide Catholic parishes, schools and other organizations funding to help them better integrate the Church’s teaching on migration into new or existing programs, materials, events and other activities. Grant recipients will be announced during National Migration Week.
“We are all created equal in God’s image,” said Bishop Elizondo. “There is no such thing as an illegal human being. During National Migration Week we should not only pray for our brothers and sisters who are marginalized but also advocate that protections are provided to them, for they need them most.”
The observance of National Migration Week began over 25 years ago by the U.S. bishops to give Catholics an opportunity to take stock of the wide diversity of peoples in the Church and the ministries serving them. The week serves as both a time for prayer and action to try and ease the struggles of immigrants, migrants and vulnerable populations coming to America and a time for reflection on the Church’s call to “welcome the stranger.” The 2015 National Migration Week marks 50 years of service by USCCB Migration and Refugee Services.
Dioceses across the country have planned events for National Migration Week. Masses will be celebrated in Los Angeles; Palm Beach, Florida; San Bernardino, California; Chicago and Miami among others. Forums, vigils, and other special events will take place in Minneapolis; Knoxville, Tennessee; Chicago and Washington.
Educational materials and other resources for National Migration Week are available for download at www.usccb.org/nationalmigrationweek. Posters, prayer cards, and booklets can be ordered through the USCCB publishing service at www.usccbpublishing.org or by calling 800-235-8722.
North Dakota must address human trafficking. The North Dakota Catholic Conference supported funding for victim services when the state passed its first set of anti-human trafficking laws, but they were not enacted. Perhaps now is the time.
USCCB Chairman Decries Opening of Family Detention Center in Dilley, Texas, Proposes More Humane Alternatives to Detention for Vulnerable Families
WASHINGTON—Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, decried the opening of a 2,400-bed detention center in Dilley, Texas, constructed to house, among others, families fleeing persecution in Central America.
The detention center, operated by a private, for-profit group, was inaugurated December 15.
“It is inhumane to house young mothers with children in restrictive detention facilities, as if they are criminals,” said Bishop Elizondo December 16. “Already traumatized from their journey, these families are very vulnerable and need care and support, not further emotional and psychological harm.” Studies have shown that detention has a harmful psychological impact on children.
Bishop Elizondo added that the Obama administration’s pursuit of a deterrence policy– including detention and interdiction– against children and families fleeing violence undermines basic human rights.
“Many of these families are fleeing persecution and should be afforded the full benefit of domestic and international law,” Bishop Elizondo said. “As we saw in the case of Artesia, detention denies mothers and children with valid legal claims meaningful access to due process, including legal representation.” A temporary detention facility in Artesia, New Mexico, housing families was recently closed down, in part, because of strong opposition to due process violations and conditions there, especially for children. The average age of children detained in Artesia was six and a half years old.
Bishop Elizondo added that humane alternatives to detention exist, particularly community-based alternatives based on a case management model.
“Past community-based programs have shown that vulnerable groups such as families can be placed in a community setting and still appear at their immigration hearings, provided they are given the proper support,” Bishop Elizondo said. “The government should explore this humane alternative and not cause further harm to these families, particularly children.”
WORLD DAY OF PEACE 2015
SLAVES NO MORE, BUT BROTHERS AND SISTERS
Check out this two-page handout for a summary of the message and prayer and action ideas!
USCCB Migration Chairman Welcomes Obama Administration Announcement of Relief for Immigrant Families, USCCB President Cites Urgent Pastoral Need for a More Humane View of Immigrants
Action keeps families together and protects children
Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop Lori Urge Congress To Include Abortion Non-Discrimination Act in Funding Legislation
Statement on the Results on Measure 1:
We are, of course, disappointed with today’s results. We are not, however, disappointed in how Catholics across the state joined with people of other faiths and no faith at all to fight for the culture of life in North Dakota.
Sadly, the opposition to Measure 1 relied solely on scare tactics and outright lies to confuse and frighten voters. The No campaign, funded and directed by Planned Parenthood, refused throughout the campaign to debate supporters of the measure or provide explanations for its claims. The people of North Dakota deserved better.
Measure 1 would have clarified that the state constitution does not contain an expansive right to abortion. Unfortunately, the people of North Dakota were denied an honest and robust debate on that issue. The cause of life and the need to address this fundamental question remain.
Although Measure 1 lost, we are not disheartened. On the issue, we won. The opponents basically conceded that this is a pro-life state by completely avoiding the importance of common sense pro-life laws. The loss of Measure 1 is not a setback. In the last five years North Dakota has passed a record number of pro-life bills, only one of which has been struck down by the courts.
In short, the pro-life movement in North Dakota has never been stronger or more unified. We have truly been blessed by this experience.