The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus hold a Corporate Stance against Human Trafficking, which states, “the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus stand in solidarity with the victims of human trafficking. We condemn the use of violence, abduction, fraud, deception, coercion, or debt bondage to transport women and children from their homes for prostitutions, sexual exploitation, forced labor and/or real or virtual slavery.” In the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “It is a sin against the dignity of persons and their fundamental rights that would reduce them by violence to their productive value or to a source of profit.” [Read more…]
Cheers and congratulations filled the air at Cabrini Immigrant Services (CIS), Dobbs Ferry, NY in celebration of two of our students becoming United States citizens!
Sabrina Grant, came to the office with a big smile on her face and announced, “I am an American citizen!” Sabrina has worked very hard with her tutor, Sr. Damien Ciminera, MSC, for about 3 years. She not only worked on preparing for her citizenship exam, she also worked on her reading, writing and even improved her skills working with money.
Sabrina is a native of Jamaica and could not wait until the day that she could call America home. Of course, Jamaica is and always will be close to her heart but now when she visits Jamaica, she will be coming home to the USA.
Sabrina’s smiling face and infectious laugh brings so much joy to CIS. Congratulations Sabrina!
Our other student, Alina Gajewska, was born in Poland. She, too, was so excited to pass her citizenship exam after a lot of hard work and study.
Alina has worked with her tutor, Mary Gallagher, for several years. She worked to improve her conversations in English, her reading and her writingskills, all the skills needed to pass the naturalization exam. It also took a lot of dedication and effort to learn the 100 questions about US Civics. Alina’s determination certainly helped her achieve her goal of becoming a US Citizen.
Congratulations Alina! We are so proud of all that you have accomplished.
In a recent edition of the National Catholic Reporter (NCR), the newspaper noted that it had received the following statement for the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities Conference of Education Deans which was signed by 19 members of that conference which is comprised of deans and professors for schools of education at Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States:
“As the education deans of the nation’s Jesuit colleges and universities, we are compelled to join our university presidents and others who have raised their collective voices to support our DACA students. Through our work, we prepare the teachers, principals, and other education support providers for the youth of our nation. The Jesuit education tradition values the right of all peoples to a meaningful and quality education, which is transformative for both the learner and the teacher. Our DACA students are no exception. Through no fault of their own, they came to the United States in search of opportunities. They have been documented and thoroughly vetted, are among our most successful students, and are preparing for positions of leadership and service in various industries in the United States. Deporting these young people just as they are poised to make strong contributions to this country – after investing so many resources to educate them in our public schools – is poor public policy and not in the public interest.
“As education leaders, we are aware of the unintended consequences that deportation, or even the threat of deportation, has on an entire school community. For example, in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) – the second largest in the country – roughly one in four students is undocumented or has a parent who is undocumented. This reality forces the question – what are the unintended consequences for our school communities under a constant threat of deportation?
“DACA students contribute greatly to the common good of American society. The United States of America is their home. They participated in the DACA program in good faith and have much to offer this country through their hard work and talent. We cannot betray them by ending the DACA program and sending them to countries they do not even know. As a society, we cannot afford the unintended educational consequences such policy actions would have. We urge our leaders to find a permanent solution for the DACA program for the benefit of our youth and our country.“
In response to the White House framework on immigration released on January 26th, Most Reverend Joe S. Vasquez, Bishop of Austin, and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration stated the following:
“We welcome the Administration’s proposal to include a path to citizenship for Dreamers. However, the proposed cuts to family immigration and elimination of protections to unaccompanied children are deeply troubling. Family immigration is part of the bedrock of our country and of our Church. Pope Francis states: ‘the family is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation.’ Upholding and protecting the family unit, regardless of its national origins, is vital to our faith. Additionally, in searching for a solution for Dreamers, we must not turn our backs on the vulnerable. We should not, for example, barter the well-being of unaccompanied children for the well-being of the Dreamers. We know them all to be children of God who need our compassion and mercy.
“We urge a bipartisan solution forward that is narrowly-tailored. Time is of the essence. Every day we experience the human consequences of delayed action in the form of young people losing their livelihood and their hope. As pastors and leaders of the Church we see this fear and sadness in our parishes and as such, continue to call for immediate action. Elected officials must show leadership to quickly enact legislation that provides for our security and is humane, proportionate and just.”
~ United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB
Young adults waiting to hear whether lawmakers will grant them the opportunity to stay in the U.S. legally said they don’t want Congress to offer an immigration deal that will help them but in turn produce fear and mass deportations among their parents and neighbors who are in the country illegally.
“What good is it for me to have a pathway to citizenship if I can’t have my parents, my friends, my loved ones…not with me? For us, family is the core of everything. I can’t imagine being in the U.S. without them,” said Laura Peniche, of Colorado, who benefitted from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA, which in 2012 began offering temporary reprieve from deportation and some legal documentation to youth brought to the country illegally as children, as long as they met certain criteria.
Some 800,000 benefitted from the program created by executive order by then – U.S. President Barack Obama, a policy rescinded in September by President Donald Trump, who then asked lawmakers to find a permanent solution before the program ends on March 5.
Peniche and other DACA recipients spoke of their fears, of frustration with lawmakers, of their peers’ trauma and depression, and the uncertainty of what they’ll do if Congress fails to pass any legislation to offer them relief when the program expires. But their biggest worry is over what lawmakers will come up with, who will be sacrificed, they say, as Republicans and Democrats bargain.
Some DACA recipients expressed concerns that they were being used as pawns and, in effect, are being asked to choose between citizenship and being responsible for heavy militarization of the border, as well as the safety of their parents, extended family and neighbors who will be at greater risk of being removed from the country if more immigration agents are deployed.
Carlos Corral, a DACA recipient from New Mexico, said that abundant immigration checkpoints in his region make him worry that the most average of errands could separate him from his mother who is not in the country legally.
“I’m in constant fear that Mom will one day decide to go shopping to the grocery store and run into one of those checkpoints and that’ll be it. I’ll lose her, just like that,” Corral said, “It does happen and its’s our reality…that’s not a way of life. I feel like we’re in a cage.”
The building of a bigger wall along the border with Mexico and the further militarization of the border will affect the way family, friends and communities live, he said. For the young adults to be used as bargaining chips in a deal that would make the lives of others even more difficult is abhorrent, he said.
“We shouldn’t be pushed to choose freedom over family because it’s immoral. Nothing is more valuable than our family,” Corral said. ~ Catholic News Service
Over the past couple of months Dreamers, community leaders, and staff at Cabrini Immigrant Services, NYC,
have been putting all of their time and effort into the fight for a clean DREAM Act.
On January 11th, we held a phone bank where Dreamers and community leaders called community members, encouraging them to call theirelected officials to demand a DREAM Act. While some of the calls were frustrating and discouraging, we also encountered many people who were eager to help – we were even able to change a few peoples’ minds by educating them about Dreamers!
On January 18th – right before the government shutdown – Cabrini Dreamers and staff went to Washington, DC to encourage elected officials to stand up for Dreamers. Cabrini Dreamers shared their stories, participated in sit-ins in various legislators’ offices, and attended a vigil in front of the Capitol Building. The struggle to protect Dreamers continues; we hope that you will support us in these efforts by calling your elected officials! You can call them at: 478-488-8059.
Last week, staff and community members also visited the state capitol, in Albany, for a day of legislative visits with the New York Immigration Coalition. We participated in trainings and visited state legislators to discuss the needs of immigrants in New York. We encouraged legislators to support increased funding for areas such as legal services for immigrants and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), both of which are very important to clients at CIS-NYC. While our focus in recent months has been on federal issues, this was a great reminder of how
important local policies are for the well-being of our community!
by Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
Being afraid and concerned about the impact of migration is not a sin, Pope Francis said, but it is a sin to let those fears lead to a refusal to help people in need.
“The sin is to allow these fears to determine our responses, to limit our choices, to compromise respect and generosity, to feed hostility and rejection,” the Pope said on January 14th, celebrating Mass for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.
While fear is a natural human reaction, he said, “the sin is to refuse to encounter the other, the different, the neighbor, when this is in fact a privileged opportunity to encounter the Lord.”
According to the United Nations, an estimated 258 million people are living outside the country of their birth. The number includes 26 million refugees and asylum seekers, who were forced to flee their homelands because of war or persecution.
“His invitation ‘Come and see!’ is addressed today to all of us, to local communities and to new arrivals,” the Pope said. “It is an invitation to overcome our fears so as to encounter the other, to welcome, to know and to acknowledge him or her.”
For the migrants and refugees, he said, that includes learning about and respecting the laws and customs of their host countries. “It even includes understanding their fears and apprehensions for the future,” he added.
For people in the host countries, he said, it means welcoming newcomers, opening oneself “without prejudices to their rich diversity,” understanding their hopes, fears and vulnerabilities and recognizing their potential.
‘In the true encounter with the neighbor, are we capable of recognizing Jesus Christ who is asking to be welcomed, protected, promoted and integrated?” Pope Francis asked.
“It is not easy to enter into another culture, to put oneself in the shoes of people so different from us, to understand their thoughts and their experiences,” the pope said. That is one reason why “we often refuse to encounter the other and raise barriers to defend ourselves.”
People in host countries may be afraid that newcomers “will disturb the established order (or) will ‘steal’ something they have long labored to build up,” he said. And the newcomers have their own fears “of confrontation, judgment, discrimination, failure.”
Both set of fears, the pope said, “are legitimate, based on doubts that are fully comprehensible from a human point of view.”
Sin, he said, enters the equation only when people refuse to try to understand, to welcome, to see Jesus present in the other, especially “the poor, the rejected, the refugee, the asylum seeker.”
~ Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
For nearly a half century, the Catholic Church in the United States has celebrated National Migration Week, which is an opportunity for the Church to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants,
including immigrants, refugees, children, and victims and survivors of human trafficking. The theme for National Migration Week 2018, “Many Journeys, One Family,” draws attention to the fact that each of our families have a migration story, some recent and others in the distant past. Regardless of where we are and where we came from, we remain part of the human family and are called to live in solidarity with one another.
Unfortunately, in our contemporary culture we often fail to encounter migrants as persons, and instead look at them as unknown others, if we even notice them at all. We do not take the time to engage migrants in a meaningful way, as fellow children of God, but remain aloof to their presence and suspicious or fearful of them. During this National Migration Week, let us all take the opportunity to engage migrants as community members, neighbors, and friends.
~ Justice for Immigrants website
Dear brothers and sisters!
“You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers inthe land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:34).
Throughout the first years of my pontificate, I have repeatedly expressed my particular concern for the lamentable
situation of many migrants and refugees fleeing from war, persecution, natural disasters and poverty. This situation is undoubtedly a “sign of the times” which I have tried to interpret, with the help of the Holy Spirit
Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age (Matthew 25:35-43). The Lord entrusts to the Church’s motherly love every person forced to leave their homeland in search of
a better future. This solidarity must be concretely expressed at every stage of the migratory experience – from departure through journey to arrival and return. This is a great responsibility, which the Church intends to share with all believers and men and women of good will, who are called to respond to the many challenges of contemporary migration with generosity, promptness, wisdom and foresight, each according to their own abilities.
In this regard, I wish to reaffirm that “our shared response may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate”.
To read the entire message of Pope Francis please visit: https://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/migration/documents/papa-francesco_20170815_world-migrants-day-2018.html
Observance of National Migration Week in Chicago began with Mass at Holy Name Cathedral celebrated by Cardinal Blase J. Cupich.
The liturgy’s theme, “Many Journeys, One Family,” responds to Pope Francis’ call for Catholics to be involved in the welcome, protection and integration of migrants and refugees worldwide and to stand in solidarity with them in departure, transit, arrival or return.
A number of Cabrini Retreat Center Kairos alumni spent the past week in pilgrimage doing just that at the US/ Mexico border. These college students traveled with the Viatorian Community, along with Fr. Cory Brost, who is the Co-Director of the Viator House of Hospitality, a safe home for young immigrant men seeking asylum in the United States.
Jason Wilhite, a Cabrini Kairos alum participated and reflected on four key themes: Humanize, Accompany, Complicate and Christianize. “The four themes were the lenses through which we were asked to view every experience. We need to understand migration is a complex issue and hearing every voice is the only way to come to common understanding and real change.”
Listening and accompanying those at the border was a rich experience and included conversations with migrants, those ministering at the border as well as border guards. They reflected on the call of Pope Francis as well as many of the issues that impact migration including human trafficking and drug cartels. Jason expressed his gratitude that the Cabrini Retreat Center continues to stay connected and supports the migrant journey.