Catholic Social Action
100 East 8th Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Phone: (513) 421-3131 ext. 2660
Fax: (513) 421-1582
Sara Seligmann – Regional Director
Catholic Social Action
1520 South Main Street
Dayton, OH 45409
Phone: (937) 281-4124
Becky Kunkler – Northern Area Coordinator
Catholic Social Action
119 E. Water Street
Sidney, OH 45365
Catholic Social Action
1520 South Main Street
Dayton, OH 45409
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Many immigrants, as well as their families, are both afraid and confused by recent announcements regarding potential enforcement actions. Please utilize the resources compiled to help educate your community about their rights when interacting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and ways that they can prepare their families.
Migrant Way of the Cross Resource
Migration continues to be at the center of conversation in society and in the Church. Following Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S.-Mexico border in February, we were inspired to create a resource to help us pray with migration during Lent and Holy Week. This particular Way of the Cross is focused on various aspects of immigration and particularly what is happening around migration right now, in 2016. Please use this resource in your own prayer, in a group, a parish or anywhere. If you’re planning to “walk the steps” on Good Friday, take this with you. Share widely, so that we can join in prayer with and for our immigrant sisters and brothers among us.
ARCHBISHOP SCHNURR ISSUES MESSAGE ON UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN
Joins Pope Francis and U.S. Catholic Bishops in Urging Us to Help Protect Vulnerable Immigrant Children and Mothers
A humanitarian crisis has emerged on our nation’s border, with an expected 90,000 unaccompanied migrant children to arrive by the end of September. Soon after Pope Francis appealed to the U.S. to help protect and welcome these children, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr released a statement to “prepare our hearts” and urge “compassion for these children, prayers for their well-being, and a willingness to respond if needed.” He states:
Despite all of the messy, political aspects of this situation, our response as Christians is fairly straight-forward. While the children are here, even if temporarily, we must care for and protect them. Our Holy Father Francis and the U.S. bishops have strongly reinforced this, and the Gospel’s mandate to love the most poor and vulnerable tells us that this is a faithful response, not a political one. The long-term solution to this crisis will require a repaired immigration system, more robust development efforts in the nations South of our border, and a bolder commitment to our relationship with them. Yet, for now, the more urgent matter is opening our hearts to homeless children.
How to Support the Children
While some migrant children in this crisis have relocated with local families, there is no word yet as to whether any larger numbers of them would be temporarily placed in communities in our Archdiocese while their legal claims are processed, they are reunited with their families, or they are returned home. Please stay tuned for volunteer requests should this be the case. For now, we encourage you to:
- ADVOCATE: Contact Congress today to urge them to respond to these children with compassion, giving them the due process afforded to those who have legitimate persecution claims. Send your U.S. Senators and Representative and email by going to www.confrontglobalpoverty.org
- EDUCATE: Share the in-depth information provided by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on this crisis in your parishes, school, or faith community. Access the bishops’ Unaccompanied Migrant Children Resource Kit” by going to www.justiceforimmigrants.org
- DONATE: Consider contributing to Catholic Charities agencies working on the border to address the immediate needs of these children by going to www.catholiccharitiesusa.org.
Why are the children coming?
Watch this informative video from Jesuit Refugee Services:
Call for Immigration Reform in Solidarity with U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Mass on the U.S.-Mexico Border
In a statement released on March 27, 2014, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr announced his intentions to join in prayer with other bishops gathering to celebrate Mass at the U.S.-Mexico border on April 1. Challenging both the Adminsitration and Congress to take decisive action to fix our broken immigration system, the Archbishop encourages us not to give up hope. He urges us to help our national leaders restore law and order and courageously welcome those whom we have called strangers as our nation’s own.
In 2003, the U.S. Catholic bishops released, Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope, a statement outlining the Church’s teaching on migration and its position concerning comprehensive immigration reform. The bishops spell out 5 fundamental principles that should guide any nation’s immigration system:
- PERSONS HAVE THE RIGHT TO FIND OPPORTUNITIES IN THEIR HOMELAND.
- PERSONS HAVE THE RIGHT TO MIGRATE TO SUPPORT THEMSELVES AND THEIR FAMILIES.
- SOVEREIGN NATIONS HAVE A RIGHT TO CONTROL THEIR BORDERS.
- REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS SHOULD BE AFFORDED PROTECTION.
- THE HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE HUMAN DIGNITY OF UNDOCUMENTED MIGRANTS SHOULD BE RESPECTED.
To live up to these principles, in the months ahead, we hope that we can secure a reform that includes what the U.S. Catholic bishops, and many other faith communities, have been calling for for some time now:
- A path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented in the nation;
- The protection and enhancement of the family-based immigration system, including the reduction in backlogs and shortening of waiting times for husbands and wives and their families;
- A program which allows low-skilled workers to enter and work in the United States legally and safely and includes appropriate wage and worker protections;
- The restoration of due process protections for immigrants removed by the 1996 Illegal Immigrant Responsibility Act; and
- Policies which address root causes, or push factors, or irregular migration, such as persecution and the absence of living wage jobs in sending communities.
You can learn much more about the Church’s teaching and activities on immigration reform at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Justice For Immigrants campaign site: www.justiceforimmigrants.org.
TAKE ACTION NOW!
On July 27, 2013, hundreds of people gathered in Springfield, Ohio to encourage Congress and the Administration to pass and enact comprehensive immigration reform. In a message read by Fr. Ed Gearhart, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr encouraged:
So today, we march with hope. Let us be inspired by the same kind of hope for a better future that drives migrants across seas and deserts; the same kind of hope that drove every immigrant, including many of our own ancestors, to this rich land since before our nation’s birth. Let us pray that Congress and the Administration will restore law and order and courageously welcome those whom we have called strangers as our nation’s own.
Archbishop Schnurr: “Only comprehensive immigration reform can simultaneously restore order and human dignity.”
In June 2010, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr called upon Catholics in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati “to support our migrant brothers and sisters during these difficult times.” He encourages “priests, teachers, religious and lay leaders do what they can to offer educational opportunities for Catholics of this Archdiocese to hear the stories of immigrants in our communities and to understand the Church’s rich teaching on this matter.” Read the full statement…
On June 23, 2011, the Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition of Cincinnati (MARCC) issued five principles to guide Ohio’s discussion on immigration in the absence of federal comprehensive reform. Archbishop Dennis Schnurr shared a strong statement of support in which he affirmed the rule of law and order, called for federal immigration reform, shared examples of the devastation that indiscriminate local enforcement is causing to immigrant families in our parishes and schools, and praised local law officials for building bridges of trust with immigrant communities to solve serious crimes. You can download his statement here.
In February 2013, the Archbishop affirmed the intentions of the “Group of Eight” U.S. Senators who announced their bi-partisan intentions to pass legislation this year. He sent an appeal to all parishes to learn about the Church’s teaching on migration and to advocate for reform through the U.S. bishops’ Justice For Immigrants postcard campaign.
The Catholic Social Action Office has prepared a summary of areas of the immigration system that the bishops would like to see fixed. For an outline, please download “Immigration in the United States: An Overview of the Current System and the Catholic Church’s Response”
City Councils Unanimously Call for Comprehensive Immigration Reform!
On March 6, 2013, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio, along with numerous other religious, labor, business, and community groups, worked to pass at Cincinnati City Hall a resolution to welcome immigrants to the city and to call upon the U.S. Congress and administration to pass and enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation this year. The resolution passed unanimously!
- The Catholic Telegraph: City Council unanimously declares Cincinnati ‘immigrant friendly’
- WCPO video of press conference
- Cincinnati City Council resolution
- Testimony from the Catholic Social Action Office
On April 10, 2013, the Dayton City Commission also unanimously passed a resolution calling upon Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform!
Building solidarity with local immigrants
The Advocates for Justice Greater Cincinnati Parish Collaborative has organized an Immigration Task Force to help carry out advocacy on this issue in the Cincinnati area and to educate parishioners about the Church’s teaching. Over the past couple of years, the task force has coordinated Justice For Immigrants postcard campaigns in parishes regarding comprehensive reform and the DREAM Act, helped to win residency for some deserving immigrants in threat of deportation, and organized educational events and prayer vigils for migrants.
“Restoring Order and Human Dignity”: A Presentation for Parish Leaders on Church Teaching on Migration
The lack of reform is having devastating effects on the families of local migrants, and it requires greater solidarity from their Catholic neighbors. The Catholic Social Action Office, through its Immigration Task Force, has organized a panel of experts to help inform the leaders of Cincinnati-area parish communities (i.e. parish staff, pastoral councils, parish commissions) about the Church’s moral teaching on immigration as well as other aspects of this issue. The panels can be arranged to be stand alone events or to fit into the tight agendas of other business meetings (e.g. pastoral council). They can be offered in 30-minute, 60-minute, or any timeframe that accomodates the audience. Click here to download a flier for this program. To arrange for the panel to come to your parish, please contact the Catholic Social Action Office.