Like Mary and Joseph, Central American migrants need a safe place to stay in an unfamiliar city.
The Christmas story is one of forced travel, of uncertainty, of a search for a safe place to stay in an unfamiliar city.
For Joseph and Mary that safe place was a manger in Bethlehem after learning there was no room for them anywhere else. For many Central Americans that place is La 72, a shelter in Tenosique, Tabasco, Mexico.
For one Mexican immigrant, crossing the border into the United States was both a physical journey and a spiritual one.
I was born in a household of 10 people: seven siblings, my parents, and me. Growing up in rural Mexico, my parents never went to school. A few years after their marriage, they moved to the city so they could give their children an education; by this they meant seeing their children graduate from ninth grade.
A few things to consider before opening your parish to immigrants and refugees.
Should your church consider becoming a place of sanctuary? Here are a few key steps that may help you decide.
Talk to the congregation
The people of Saint Thomas More Catholic Community in St. Paul, Minnesota went through a five-month process of discussion and debate before dedicating their space as a sanctuary. “Our parish has a social justice bent, but some people thought this was too political at first,” says Jesuit Father Warren Sazama, pastor of Saint Thomas More.
When the U.S. government has a zero tolerance party on undocumented people, how can the church welcome the stranger?
In the spring of 2017, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained and eventually deported Jorge Taborda’s wife and oldest son. The Tabordas had been living in the United States for over 19 years. When ICE came to the door, Jorge and his younger son—a U.S. citizen by birth—were not at home. Jorge was able to find refuge at the Holy Cross Retreat Center near Las Cruces, New Mexico. He has been living there since May 2017.
Catholic parishes are a place where immigrants can receive welcome and support without facing violence because of their accents or mispronounced words.
I have a terrible habit of laughing at the way my Hispanic relatives talk—classic Spanglish. They mistake and from y, the from el and la, and they don’t know what a quiet volume is. My own mother can’t even pronounce my Persian name right; she, my abuelita, my aunts, and my uncles all call me “Cheereena,” not Shireen.
We must reject the ‘globalization of indifference’ toward refugees, says the president of the International Catholic Migration Commission.
Lampedusa is a speck of land in the southern Mediterranean, less than eight square miles in size and with a population of around 6,000. It belongs to Italy but lies much closer to North Africa. Over the past 20 years, it is estimated that around 400,000 migrants making their way by sea to the European mainland have landed on Lampedusa. At least 15,000 have died on the way.
The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) is working to stand with immigrants across the country.
The separation of children from their parents at the border has thrown our country’s immigration problems into high relief. Many Americans responded to the administration’s policy change with outrage. Though the president signed an executive order on June 20 that nominally ends this family separation policy, the crisis is not over.
We, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), know this from our long experience working with immigrants and from the witness of our 330 affiliates across the country.
The fight to protect undocumented immigrants is tougher than ever, but two dedicated nuns show no signs of stopping.
Ten years after one of the nation’s largest immigration raids, faith communities are calling for a renewed commitment to immigration reform.
In the spring of 2008, a visitor to the small town of Postville, Iowa might have been surprised at what she found. In a region populated mostly by descendants of 19-century Western European immigrants, Postville’s population of about 2,000 people reflected a diversity normally not associated with rural America. Catholic and Protestant European Americans lived and worked alongside Hasidic Jews and immigrants from Guatemala, Mexico, Ukraine, Russia, and elsewhere.
Mercy should be our policy on undocumented people.
Rosa Maria Hernandez is a 10-year-old girl from Laredo, Texas. She has cerebral palsy and was on the verge of being deported to a nation she has never known. Her ordeal suggests the whole country should consider a collective New Year’s resolution for 2018: Let’s be more merciful this year.
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