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Weekly News Summary: Conscience Protection Act; Federal Sanctuary State Lawsuit

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March 9, 2018

Urge Congress to Enact the Conscience Protection Act

Now is the time to contact your members of Congress and advocate for the protection of life and freedom of conscience. 

The Conscience Protection Act is common-sense legislation that will clarify federal law and ensure that those who provide health care and health coverage can do so without being forced by government to help destroy innocent unborn children.

The House passed an identical bill of the same name (S. 304) in 2016, but it was never enacted into law. Therefore, we must continue to advocate for conscience protection for those who choose not to participate in abortion.

Please take a moment to let your representatives in Congress know that we expect them to protect our most cherished liberties.

The Conscience Protection Act will address the deficiencies that block effective enforcement of existing laws, most notably by establishing a private right of action allowing victims of discrimination to defend their own rights in court.   This is one of the only civil rights that does not currently recognize a private right of action for individuals.

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Feds and California Face Off on Immigration

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in Sacramento this week to announce that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a lawsuit against the State of California claiming some of its new immigration laws violate the U.S. Constitution.

The DOJ suit alleges that three recently passed state laws – SB 54, AB 450, and AB 103 – hinder enforcement of federal immigration law and endanger federal agents.  California officials counter that the laws create safer communities by eliminating any hesitation undocumented people may feel about involvement with law enforcement for fear of deportation.

SB 54 the “California Values Act” in sets forth how state and local authorities interact with immigration authorities. Last year, the California Bishops released a statement supporting SB 54 and citing its goal, “to address this situation directly as it grapples with the injustice of indiscriminate deportations while assuring public safety for all our families and neighborhoods.”

AB 450, the “Immigrant Worker Protection Act,” forbids private employers from voluntarily cooperating with federal immigration enforcement at the workplace.

AB 103 seeks to regulate contract detention facilities used to hold federal immigration detainees.

The California Catholic Conference did not take positions on either AB 450 or AB 103.

The Trump Administration has been very aggressive towards sanctuary cities. In January 2017, it issued Executive Order 13768 on interior enforcement, which contained a broad interpretation of the ability of the federal government to punish sanctuary cities and deny them federal funding.  And in July 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that cities and states would only be eligible to receive certain grants from the Justice Department if they follow specific requirements, including certifying compliance with federal immigration law.

Subsequently, lawsuits in Northern California, Chicago, and Pennsylvania challenged the Executive Order or the Administration’s related attempts to deny federal funding to localities deemed “sanctuary jurisdictions.” That litigation remains ongoing. 

USCCB Chairmen Urge Concrete Actions to Address Gun Violence

In the aftermath of the tragic attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., of Youngstown, Ohio, Chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education, urged national leaders to finally come together and address the crisis of gun violence in a comprehensive way.

The full statement follows:

"Once again, we are confronted with grave evil, the murder of our dear children and those who teach them. Our prayers continue for those who have died, and those suffering with injuries and unimaginable grief. We also continue our decades-long advocacy for common-sense gun measures as part of a comprehensive approach to the reduction of violence in society and the protection of life.

Continue Reading or read Fr. Gerald Commentary - More Guns, More Deaths - from last month.

Join Our Statewide Conversation on Faith in the Public Square

Every year, around 40,000 Catholics gather in southern California for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ Religious Education Congress.  Workshops and worships services lead by prominent Catholic leaders and writers create a collective atmosphere of prayer, learning and discernment.

Staff from the California Catholic Conference (CCC) attend to promote membership in the Catholic Legislative Network (Booth #281) and our prison chaplain activities (Booth #248).

This year, using social media, you can also join in a conversation about current public policy issues even though you might not be able to make the trek to the Anaheim Convention Center to attend the Congress.

On Saturday morning (March 17 at 10:15), CCC Executive Director, Edward “Ned” Dolejsi will be featured on a Facebook Live broadcast from our booth at the Congress.  Beginning Friday, Network subscribers will be able to submit questions for the Mr. Dolejsi by visiting

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Catholic Charities of California Instrumental Resource for All

Almost six million Californians live in poverty. Every year, Catholic Charities of California (CC of C), Inc. and its twelve Local Catholic Charities Organizations in California at the state level (LCCO’s) provide more than 1.5 million professional social services to Californians who need help.

In addition to the local programs administered by LCCO’s, CCC administers several statewide programs to assist with food, nutrition, housing, healthcare and legal assistance.

The California State Set-Aside Committee for the federal Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) is a way the CC of C is able to distribute federal funds to help meet the basic needs of hungry and homeless people. The CCC has overseen a total of $3,033,126 in allocations of EFSP funds to California jurisdictions.

Local Catholic Charities Organizations in California serve immigrants across the state, including providing low- and no-cost immigration legal services. Since 2016, this statewide network has provided CDSS-funded free legal services to over 4,700 immigrants and provided immigration-focused education and outreach to over 14,000 immigrants.

Food security for all Californians is a priority for Catholic Charities of California. Since 2009, Catholic Charities of California has led a statewide effort to enroll individuals into CalFresh. Local Catholic Charities Organizations have prescreened over 373,000 households and assisted more than 29,000 households to apply for benefits. 

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March 9, 2018
Vol. 11, No. 9

En Español