Category Archives: Immigration

IMMIGRATION: I am opposed to the use of family detention

childrenattheborderbutton-smallPax Christi USA has signed onto this letter and encourages all of our members to take action also.

Dear President Obama,

As a Catholic, I am opposed to the use of family detention.  Detaining women and children who are fleeing persecution and violence demeans the God-given human dignity of these vulnerable people.

Many of the women and children confined at new detention facilities in New Mexico and Texas are survivors of domestic and targeted community violence.  These young women and their children have endured trauma and abuse in their home countries in Central America and also have experienced abuse along their migration journey.  They are coming to the United States for protection from violence and have been subsequently detained by our government. Alternatives to detention, like community-based models and case management, are effective at ensuring compliance with immigration court proceedings.  As a person of faith and a voter, I urge you to oppose any expansion to the family detention system and to begin implementing community-based alternatives to detention.

Click here to take action now!

CHILDREN AT OUR BORDER: PCUSA signs onto letter calling for provisions to adjust root causes of forced migration

childrenattheborderbutton-smallPax Christi USA has signed onto a letter drafted by a number of human rights, faith-based and humanitarian groups addressed to Conferees on the State Foreign Ops portion of the Omnibus appropriations bill which will be negotiated for passage next month.  The letter seeks to encourage Conferees to include provisions that would address the root causes of forced migration from Central America of children and families, specifically endorsing certain funding lines.

The letter begins:

As faith-based, humanitarian, labor, and human rights organizations, we are greatly troubled by the humanitarian crisis in the Northern Triangle of Central America that has compelled the migration of families and children, often unaccompanied, to the United States.  This crisis deserves a response that is both compassionate and sustainable.  As you finalize your conference negotiations of the omnibus legislation, we urge you to retain provisions of the FY15 State and Foreign Operations bills that seek to address some of the factors driving children, families, women, and men to abandon their homes in the Central American region…

The letter will be delivered this week.

IMMIGRATION: Letter on actions to improve rights, accountability of immigration enforcement

Pax Christi USA has signed onto a letter sent to the Obama Administration discussing five steps they should take without delay to address crucial gaps in human rights, civil rights, accountability and transparency in the context of immigration enforcement.

Click here to read the letter.

IMMIGRATION: A Call to Specific and Concrete Action on Immigration

Pax Christi USA has signed the petition below from Ruben Garcia, PCUSA Teacher of Peace, and our friends at Annunciation House in El Paso, TX. We encourage all members to sign on as well.

06558_134_134bThe arrival of thousands of families and unaccompanied minors from Central America to the South Texas border has pushed the immigration issue to the forefront of debate in the national discourse. News stories of arriving mothers with children alongside tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors have triggered off a fierce national debate. How the U.S. deals with the immigration issue will enduringly brand the character of the nation for generations to come and it is the defining civil rights issue of the day. Calls for immigration reform have been incessant and they have come from churches, human rights organizations, professionals and academics, Chambers of Commerce, elected officials, labor unions, and voters all across the nation. Legislative inaction, a relentless and myopic focus on enforcement only, the criminalization of immigration, and dramatic increases in funding for “boots on the ground” have created an intolerable reality for refugees and immigrants and adversely affected the nation’s economy, security, and especially its human rights record and stature among the community of nations…

Click here to read and sign the petition.

STATEMENT: Pax Christi USA official statement on the delay on an immigration plan

Pax Christi USA joins its voice with the many that had great hopes that President Obama, in September, would use his executive authority to address the broken U.S. immigration system as he had promised. Those hopes have been seriously dashed over the weekend by the President’s announcement that he will delay his decision until after the November elections, lest the decision have an impact on those seeking re-election. In essence, the President has yielded to political pressure and has bartered with the lives of immigrant children and families.  PCUSA finds this not only profoundly disappointing, but also unacceptable for a country that boasts such high ideals.

This delay simply means more hardship and suffering for those who have endured more than their share of trauma: threats of deportation for those who have lived here for years, returning children to countries of origin amidst death threats, the continuation of 1,000+ daily deportations and the inhumane conditions and screening at detention facilities.

We ask President Obama to have a change of mind and heart, to put an immediate end to splitting apart immigrant families, and to provide safety and care for the children who are alone.

TAKE ACTION: Urge your Senator to uphold protections for migrant women and children!

from the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach

childrenattheborderbutton-smallBefore leaving for August Recess, the House of Representatives voted on a supplemental funding bill that beefs up border security instead of supporting the agencies most in need of additional funding—the ones that are providing for the basic needs of women and their children who are fleeing widespread violence in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

The House also voted to strike down a key provision in the Trafficking Victims Protection and Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008 that requires U.S. agencies to screen unaccompanied minors from Central America as possible victims of human trafficking. Expediting this process will ensure that many of the children will be sent back to their traffickers or to the violent, abusive situations from where they come. Already, children as young as 18-months are being brought to “rocket docket” hearings, without an attorney, in order to be quickly deported.

Now, the ball is in the Senate’s court and they need to know that although they have been on August Recess, their constituents continue to work to show hospitality to and stand in solidarity with migrants fleeing from violence and aggression, especially children who are traumatized and cannot advocate for themselves.

Call this number:  1-866-940-2439 to leave a message for your Senators.

Sample Script:

Hello, my name is [your name] and as a person of faith living in Senator [name]’s state, I am deeply concerned about the House of Representatives’ response to migrants fleeing violence in Central America. Women and children especially are targets for sexual abuse, aggression, and trafficking and need special protection.

It is for this reason that I urge you to uphold protections for children traveling alone from Central America in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2008; to increase funding for humanitarian agencies that are responding to the basic needs of these refugees; and to not rush to deport migrants, especially women and children, who have legitimate claims for protection.

God calls us to act with compassion toward those who are suffering. I implore you to make this a moment of pride for our country.