Tag Archives: immigration reform

“Let the Children Come to Me”

26 Jun

immigrant children3 Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

There has been a lot of press as of late speaking of the influx of children coming into the United States from Central America. Since 2009, there has been an a dramatic rise of unaccompanied children coming from Central America.  Why?

Some believe that they are coming here because they are looking for a better life and have heard that the U.S. is easier on children than adults.

Why would children risk crossing deserts, going hungry, risking the possibility of being trafficked, etc.?  Why would parents allow this?

The United Nations has been asking these same questions.  Brian Resnick of the National Journal questioned Leslie Velez , senior protection officer at the U.N. High Commission for Refugees.  “The normal migration patterns in this region have changed,” Ms. Velez stated. They are not coming for economic opportunity.  They are fleeing for their lives.”  The U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees surveyed 404 children from Mexico and Central America.  The report states that “no less than 58 percent of the 404 children interviewed were forcibly displaced” to a degree that warranted international protection. If the U.S. refuses these children, it could be in breach of U.S. conventions.  These are refugees no more or less than we are seeing in the Middle East. This time we are the receiving country.

Why are they fleeing for their lives?  In 2009, the democratically elected President of Honduras was overthrown by a military coup ( some of whom are graduates of the School of the Americas).  The U.S. has provided support ever since in the form of arms and support for the corrupt government that emerged after dubious elections in 2009 and 2013.

“Since 2008, the U.S. has spent over $800 million in security aid to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador through ‘Central American Regional Security Initiative’ (CARSI) in addition to millions more in bilateral military and police aid to each country.” (SOA Watch 6/19/2014)

Violence in Honduras is so high that people are scared for their lives.  Children are being recruited by gangs and drug cartels in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.  They are given little choice because of their vulnerability.  Adult gang members and drug pushers feel that children provide them with safe cover.  These children  don’t want to be in gangs or to be involved with the drug cartels so they flee.  This is similar to the child soldiers we heard about in Uganda.

It is easy to think that children are coming to the United States from Central America for a better economic life.  It appears that, at least for 60% of them, they are just coming for a chance to live.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious just came out with a statement on this.  https://lcwr.org/media/lcwr-statement-children-crossing-borders-alone

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have had several testimonies given to Congress. http://www.usccb.org/about/migration-policy/

You can also give testimony to your congressperson.  Let them know that the humanitarian approach to this is to treat the children as refugees and increase funding for immigrant services.

 

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Earth Day to May Day – Global Climate Convergence

27 Feb

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http://globalclimateconvergence.org/2014/02/19/video-tim-dechristopher-climate-change-is-the-context-of-our-times/

In the past, most activism has followed the following path.  Demonstration on Immigration Reform will be held and that is the only issue referred to.  Earth Day is about the environment and that is the only issue discussed on that day. May Day is about Labor and Immigration (due to the obvious connection with labor).

This year, a call is going out to have all issues relating to people, planet and peace connect over 10 days beginning with Earth Day and ending (?) with May Day.  The reason I put a question mark after ending, is that we hope that this will really be just the beginning of a worldwide movement of making connections.

We are very much at a tipping point in our world.  We have reached a critical CO2 mass in our atmosphere of 400 parts per million .  (The Guardian, November 6, 2013) There is a shortage of potable water in California and other locations in the world.  Meanwhile, fracking and the transportation of tar sands and Bakken oil threaten Mother Earth. (go to Tar Sands Free Midwest on Facebook)

The fight for a minimum wage in order for people to have the basic necessities of life is being blocked by the desire for more and more profit.  Labor is being cut, while the average CEO is making 273 times the average pay of their employees. (Washington Post, June 26, 2013).

The social safety net is being dramatically unravelled, while the call for tax cuts for the wealthiest is often heard.

Pope Francis recognized this when he stated in “The Joy of the Gospel”Paragraph 56 : “While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation.”

Individual groups cannot really make the impact that is needed.  Combined efforts can begin to shape a new future in which everyone has what they need and the earth and all that dwells upon it is secure. A new world is possible, if only we act.

To find out about events happening in your area, please go to http://globalclimateconvergence.org .

No human is illegal — the case for immigration reform

11 Nov

blog_country_immigrantsNow that the Government shutdown has been lifted and the debt ceiling crisis has been averted, President Obama has insisted that immigration reform become a priority for this Congress.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for the following elements to be included in any immigration reform law:

The reform

  • Provides a path to citizenship for undocumented persons in the country;
  • Preserves family unity as a cornerstone of our national immigration system;
  • Provides legal paths for low-skilled immigrant workers to come and work in the United States:
  • Restores due process to our immigrant enforcement policies;
  • Addresses the root causes of migration, such as persecution and economic disparity

There have been some myths that have been raised regarding undocumented immigration.

Immigrants cost the country billions of dollars in services.

According to the Cato Institute: the average immigrant pays $80,000 in their lifetime in taxes than they collect in government services.

http://cato.org/pubs/handbook/hb108/hb108-63.pdf

Undocumented immigrants bring crime into the country

In reality, while the undocumented population doubled between 1994 – 2005, violent crime dropped by 34%. Property crime dropped by 32%.  This is based on documentation gathered by the American Immigration Council.

There have been over 2 million deportations during the Obama Administration.  On November 6 and 7 people in major cities in the United States called for an end to these deportations and the passing of the Immigration Reform Bill.

November 13, 2013—Feast of St. Frances Cabrini

St. Frances Cabrini is the patron saint of immigrants. Honor her feast day by contacting Congress calling for Immigration Reform.

  • Join Justice for Immigrants’ national Call-to-Congress   855-589-5698 and tell them it’s time to fix our broken immigration system. Feel free to use this script:

I am from City, State, Congregation /Community and as a person of faith, I support genuine immigration reform. I urge the Representative to persuade House leadership to take up immediately  reform that creates a path to citizenship and reunites families. Give us reason to be grateful this Thanksgiving. Pass genuine  immigration reform before the Thanksgiving recess!

Through all of our efforts, let us remember Francis’ words in the Canticle of Brother Sun:

“Blessed are those who endure in peace for by You, Most High, they shall be crowned.”