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.
Ed Wethli welcomed a Syrian refugee family into his home and kick-started an international movement.
Thomas Gabriel, a Syrian refugee, considers the events of the past three years nothing short of a miracle.
A new Canadian program makes a point to celebrate refugees, rather than demonize them.
Ammar (not his real name), a refugee from Syria, entered Canada two years ago at the age of 14. When he first moved to Canada with his mother and sister, he was extremely shy and had no friends or sense of community. But now, at 16, Ammar is an active member of an innovative group mentoring and youth development program called “Conversation Club.” After becoming more immersed in the program, Ammar says, “Now I can speak freely to other people, to my friends like this. Like when I came here, I don’t have any friends. Then, I came here and made all my friends.”
Father Daniel Berrigan reflects on refugees, Christ, and the American Dream.
There isn’t much sense talking about “roots” unless you can also point to flowers, fruits, leaves, fronds, seeds.
Thus we point to what the poets call the human condition, borrowing from around us to look within us.
Refugees are uprooted.
You look into the eyes of boat children; they have the look of people torn out of their proper soil, their hair wild as roots, lives dangling in midair.
They’ve lost that look of flowers, that serene becalmed presence, an infinitely sweet persuasion and urging—“Be—like me!”
The U.S. must take some responsibility for the collateral damage its policies created.
The president has promised a vast reinforced wall on the border to keep migrating people out. Immigration enforcement officers stalk homeless people without documentation outside church-run shelters. Refugee freezes, outright bans, and walls of paperwork keep those attempting to escape from the violent and unstable Middle East from safety.
Understanding that “you are my other self” will lead us to a new national vision grounded in solidarity.
I come from the El Paso-Juárez border communities. For the past 15 years, El Paso has been ranked as the second safest city in the nation, while, just across the border, Ciudad Juárez ranks the second most dangerous city in the world. Daily in Juárez eight to 10 people are murdered, decapitated, kidnapped, tortured, or are simply disappeared.
Few Catholics are as consistently successful at being peace than the members of the Sant’Egidio community.
Returning after an unprecedented visit with refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos in April last year, Pope Francis startled the world by bringing 12 Syrian refugees back with him to Rome. Who did he turn to for help in orchestrating this humanitarian public relations coup? The Rome-based community of Sant’Egidio.
Since that dramatic gesture, Sant’Egidio has been shepherding the pope’s refugee families and accepting new people fleeing Syria, assisting them with language lessons, job placement, and settling in to life in Rome.
Christians have a responsibility to the men, women, and children fleeing their homelands.
Every minute, 24 people across the globe leave their homes behind and become refugees—roughly 24 per minute, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency. The recent travel ban by President Donald Trump that forbids refugees from seven countries to enter the United States complicates this exodus.
As we celebrate the birth of Christ, remember that he was born Jesus the migrant, Jesus the refugee.
An old Irish custom—at least my mother told me it was Irish and old—was to put an extra potato in the pot for supper for “the people on the road.” In the 19th century as landlords put tenants off their plots, families were forced to be migrants—internally or overseas. Remembering Matthew 25, the poor Irish would be prepared to welcome the stranger and fed the hungry—if only with a potato. I once mentioned this in a sermon and, as I greeted people after Mass, a Canadian told of a similar practice in Quebec.