In recent years, chain migration has become a contentious concept in debates over immigration to the U.S. Those who support a particular vision for changes to pathways to legal immigration present chain migration as a form of immigration to the United States that is constantly proliferating, uncontrolled by current laws and, by its size and nature, a threat to the nation’s security, economic stability, and character.
Pope Francis on Refugees
“Where is your brother?” the voice of his blood cries even to me, God says. This is not a question addressed to others: it is a question addressed to me, to you, to each one of us. These our brothers and sisters seeking to leave difficult situations in order to find a little serenity and peace, they seek a better place for themselves and for their families – but they found death. How many times to those who seek this not find understanding, do not find welcome, do not find solidarity! And their voices rise up even to God!
Learn More About Immigration
US Bishops' Statement
In this historic statement, the bishops of the United States and Mexico join together to examine the impact of migration on the social, political, and spiritual lives of both countries. Encouraged by the Holy Father's call for a new evangelization and greater unity between Catholics in this hemisphere, the bishops offer detailed guidance for all who minister to migrants-and concrete steps for improving pastoral experiences. The statement also offers policy recommendations to both nations that respect the dignity of the migrant.
"In solidarity, we will continue to advocate on your behalf for just and fair migration policies. We commit ourselves to animate communities of Christ’s disciples on both sides of the border so that yours is a journey of hope, not despair….."
Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey
US Catholic Bishops and Conference of Mexican Bishops, 2003.
Originally posted on October 23, 2018
Last month, the Trump Administration announced a dramatic change to long-standing definitions of what constitutes a “public charge” for legal immigration purposes. Bishop Vasquez, Chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ migration committee said that the changes, if enacted, would “undercut decades of administrative policies and guidelines on how immigrants are treated…it is likely to prevent families from accessing important medical and social services vital to public health and welfare.”
It is no secret that conditions in Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) migrant detention camps in California and nationally have questionable living conditions. There have been consistent reports of human rights violations in overwhelmed detention facilities. According to NBC News, there have been 24 deaths in the last two years alone in these facilities.
Reviews of the centers conducted by the California Attorney General (AG) has shown that available information regarding the treatment of immigration detainees in California is cursory and inconsistent.
Gráinne McEvoy is an independent scholar based in South Bend, Indiana, and is currently writing a book on American Catholic social thought and immigration policy in the 20th century.
During National Migration Week, the Church asks us to reflect on the conditions faced by migrants around the world. Traditionally, the Pope issues a statement for World Day of Migrants and Refugees but this year, at the request of bishops around the world, that day has been moved to September 29, the feast of the archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Until then, here is a brief thought from Pope Francis’ 2018 message:
Last week more than 1,600 migrant children were quietly moved during the night to a new tent facility in Tornillo Texas. After a national outcry over the separation of children and parents during the summer, the number of separated children remains high with no remedies in sight. Dr. Gráinne McEvoy, a regular contributor on the history of migration, looks at the ongoing situation:
“Children are not instruments of deterrence but a blessing from God.” - Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Chairman of USCCB Committee on Migration
Last Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security released a proposed rule change to the inadmissibility on public charges ground which would impact immigrants attempting to change their immigration status. This rule does not apply to refugees or people granted asylum. A public charge is a term used by U.S. immigration officials to refer to a person who is or could become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence through certain public benefits. The proposed rule change would shift from considering only cash benefits to now considering noncash benefits.
“Who are we,” asked one detainee, “that the Church should visit us?”
That sentiment – one of humbleness and a longing for the Sacraments and fellowship – characterized a pastoral visit by seven California Bishops and others to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility in Adelanto, CA, last week.
More than 350 men and women housed in the high desert facility attended four Masses, flocked to the Sacrament of Reconciliation in Spanish, English and Vietnamese and enjoyed fellowship with the delegation of twenty.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has been the subject of much discussion, by politicians, policy experts, academics, journalists and others, since it was announced in June, 2012 by President Barack Obama. While critics of the program have warned of it as an exercise in executive overreach and a violation of the rule of law, its supporters have defended it as a reasonable, compassionate concession, one which enjoys overwhelming public support, until lawmakers find a more permanent solution.
In an open letter to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy that was printed this morning in the Bakersfield Californian, Catholic leaders in California urged Rep. McCarthy to allow a House vote on critical legislation that would prevent the deportation of young people who were brought into this country as minors, but who lack formal permission to remain in the United States.