Tag Archives: Immigration

TORTURE: Please sign this petition to help torture survivors

from TASSC

As torture survivors flee for their lives, most of them carry the heavy weight of multiple and cumulative traumas in addition to the on-going traumatic experiences that can be associated with being a refugee. Receiving asylum in the United States can be a lifeline to safety and provide a path to healing. However, when asylum seekers arrive at a U.S. border or port of entry, they are frequently shocked at the treatment they endure upon reaching a perceived destination of safety and protection, as they are arrested, shackled, and confined.

Due to the long-term impacts of torture and trauma, the fact of being detained at all is often retraumatizing for survivors of torture. Further, particular elements inherent in the detention experience—including a profound sense of powerlessness and loss of control—may recapitulate the torture experience. Beyond this, the indefinite nature of immigration detention is a blanket over it all, contributing to severe, chronic emotional distress. In less than three years – from October 2010 to February 2013 – the United States detained an estimated 6,000 survivors of torture as they were seeking asylum protection.

Given the extreme hardship, particularly in light of less expensive and more humane alternatives, survivors of torture should not be detained. Once detained most asylum seekers do not have access to legal information and representation. Only 14% of the asylum seekers in immigration detention have access to the legal orientation program (LOP) or some form of legal assistance. Most of the asylum seekers including torture survivors forced to represent themselves and some lose their legal battle and deported to the country where they were tortured or persecuted…

Click here to read more and see the entire petition.

IMMIGRATION: This is what America looks like

Tom Cordaroby Tom Cordaro
Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace

For years immigrant communities and their supporters have been marching, canvasing, writing letters, lobbying politicians, holding educational events, telling their stories and praying for an end to the pain, suffering and fear caused by our broken immigration system.  In spite of all this effort nearly 2 million undocumented immigrants have been forcibly deported leaving nearly 3 million children without a parent.

In the face of so much preventable human suffering there comes a time when good order must be interrupted so the cries of children can be heard. This is why I joined 141 immigrant activists in blocking a major intersection in downtown Chicago on November 6th. We are calling on the Obama Administration to suspend deportations and we are calling on Speaker John Boehner to allow a vote on the bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill that passed in the Senate.

It was a privilege for me to participate in this action with so many gifted young immigrants and other supporters of immigration reform. As we sat in the street awaiting arrest we joined in many familiar chants.

The one that struck me the most was the chant, “This is what democracy looks like!” I have joined in this chant on many occasions for many different causes. It is a powerful reminder that citizenship in a democracy is more than a spectator sport. It is a solemn commitment to engage in the political process in order to form a “more perfect union” in our communities, our nation and around the world.

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But in the midst of this chant a new variation arose. This mostly young immigrant crowd began to chant, “This is what America looks like.”  Yes indeed! As I looked over this multi-cultural community of social justice activists it was clear to me that these are the faces of America’s future; and to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear – these young activists are the future of our Church.

These gifted young organizers of color and their white allies represent the best of who we are. They are the ones we have been waiting for. As a middle-aged white male activist it is clear to me that my role is to follow their lead; to trust in their judgment; and to offer what wisdom I have if asked.

See more photos here.

TAKE ACTION: National Call-in Day TODAY, November 13th, in support of immigration reform

Justice and dignity for all immigrants

Join with Justice for Immigrants by using this toll free number for our National Call-In Day to Congress today, November 13, 2013:  1-855-589-5698

Callers dialing into the toll-free number will hear a short recording instructing them to give the following message to their Member of Congress:

“Support a path to citizenship and oppose the SAFE Act.”

After the recording, callers will then be prompted to enter their zip code on their telephone keypad and will be connected directly to their Representative’s D.C. office.

Please share with your networks the information about the call-in day, toll-free number and message to Congress and ask them to make the call.

National call-in day information will also be posted on the www.justiceforimmigrants.org homepage, JFI Facebook page, and Twitter.

IMMIGRATION: Mark your calendars – National Call-in Day on November 13th!

Justice and dignity for all immigrants

Join with Justice for Immigrants by using this toll free number for our National Call-In Day to Congress on Wednesday, November 13, 2013:  1-855-589-5698

On that day, callers dialing into the toll-free number will hear a short recording instructing them to give the following message to their Member of Congress:

“Support a path to citizenship and oppose the SAFE Act.”

After the recording, callers will then be prompted to enter their zip code on their telephone keypad and will be connected directly to their Representative’s D.C. office.

Please share with your networks the information about the call-in day, toll-free number and message to Congress and ask them to make the call.

National call-in day information will also be posted on the www.justiceforimmigrants.org homepage, JFI Facebook page, and Twitter.

Here is sample blurb that may be used to for parish bulletins or e-newsletters:

The Feast Day of Saint Frances Cabrini is Wednesday, November 13th.  On the day to honor St. Cabrini, the patron saint of immigrants, 
Catholics and supporters of immigrants are asked to call their U.S. Representatives at 1-855-589-5698 and leave this simple message: 

“Support a path to citizenship and oppose the SAFE Act.”

REFLECTION: The Lord hears the cry of the poor

Tom Cordaroby Tom Cordaro
Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, October 27th, 2013

“The Lord Hears the Cry of the Poor.” For many these words sound comforting. It is nice to know that God cares for the poor; they certainly need all the care they can get. Others give this phrase a spiritual interpretation; God hears the cry of those who are spiritually impoverished. It is nice to know that God hears their cry as well.

But I am not sure these interpretations are what Sirach had in mind in our first reading.  Sirach declares, “[God] hears the cry of the oppressed. The Lord is not deaf to the wail of the orphan or to the widow when she pours out her complaint.”  Clearly we are not talking about a desire for a comforting word of care from God and clearly we are not dealing with the spiritually poor.

Sirach is talking about poor and powerless people who are oppressed and who “wail” and “pour out a complaint” to God. And who are the tormentors of these poor and oppressed people?  In the scriptures they are often referred to as the rich and the powerful.  They are judges, kings, landowners, tax collectors and religious and political leaders in biblical times. They are the ones who have more than they need and who build bigger barns to hold their excess wealth and goods.

2007-10-28IllegalImmigrantToday, among the poor and powerless who wail and poor out their complaint to God are the undocumented immigrants who are forced to live in the shadows of our communities because their desire to keep their children from dying in poverty is greater than their fear of breaking our laws. They are not looking for a handout; they want to live with dignity and respect. This is why comprehensive immigration reform is so important for them.

They want legal status so they can live without fear and contribute to society like everyone else. They do not want to live in constant worry that members of their family might be snatched from them and deported. They want what every immigrant to this country has desired since the first settlers came here.

Unfortunately what they find too often are Americans that resemble the Pharisee in today’s Gospel. “I thank you O God that I am not like these illegal aliens. My ancestors had permission to come to this land. I have my papers and I pay my taxes.”

Meanwhile these poor and powerless undocumented immigrants wail and pour out their complaint to God. “O God, I know I am in this country illegally. Have mercy on me and my family.”

Who do you think is justified before God?

Sirach tells us that the Lord hears the cry of the poor.  Should Americans hear these words as a comfort or as a warning? If God does hear the cry of these poor what does that mean for us. Sirach warns, “The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest till it reaches its goal, nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds.”

Pax Christi members have been walking with our immigrant brothers and sisters in the struggle for comprehensive immigration reform for many years. Sometimes we are tempted to despair. Let’s keep our hearts focused on the promise, “The Lord hears the cry of the poor.” And let us never tire of the journey.

IMMIGRATION: Follow the call – Mobilize on October 5th for dignity and respect

oct-5Pax Christi USA has endorsed the following call to action. What follows is the faith leaders’ statement supporting the call to action and the October 5th day of mobilization.

As faith leaders, we recognize every human being’s inherent self-worth and dignity. For centuries, throughout our faith traditions, we have followed our sacred texts that teach us love, respect, and dignity for all people.

The crisis of record deportations continues to separate families at alarming rates impacting our communities and our congregations in dire ways.  Mothers are torn from their children, husbands taken from their wives. The time has come to stop these family separations. Indeed, it is long past time. The urgent need for immigration reform cannot be overstated. We need reform that prioritizes family unity, legalization and full citizenship for our undocumented sisters and brothers.

As denominations and faith-based organizations, we are calling on people of faith from all traditions to work together, to take action, and to join in the October 5th Mobilizations for Dignity and Respect. 

“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.  The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself.” Leviticus 19:33 

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free” Isaiah 58:6

Many faithful leaders have joined the 40 day Pray and Fasting Action for Immigration Reform taking place now until October 18th. On October 7th and 8th, more than 200 faith leaders from 45 states will fly to Washington, D.C. to advocate for immigration reform and join a mass mobilization on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

The time has come that we must escalate our actions in our commitment to guide the moral compass of our Congress and of our nation. We march for a country where families and children can dream of building lives of dignity without fear.

We invite you to participate in the October 5th Mobilization for Dignity and Respect in the following ways:

  • Attend and invite your friends and congregation members to join you in local rallies and events in your city;
  • Contact the organizers of the event in your area to make sure a local faith leader is speaking or praying at the action;
  • Integrate immigration themes, including a call-to-action, into your weekly Sabbath services;
  • Utilize the Bulletin Insert Already Designed for you to add your own local information at this Link- Bulletin Insert.
  • Join Pray and Fasting for Immigration Reform and fast from sunrise to sundown on October 5th;
  • Write a reflection, blog, opinion-editorial or letter to the editor leading up to October 5th about why you care about immigration reform and are raising your voice. Engage in social media activities, write a press release or hold a press conference in support of the mobilization for dignity and respect. More information at http://www.interfaithimmigration.org/october (contact Sidney Traynham at straynham@cwsglobal.org for media support);

Sign up your congregation or organization to endorse for the October 5th mobilizations at this Link: Sign Up Form

IMMIGRATION: Faith Leaders call upon President, Congress to reassert authority on immigration law

from Justice for Immigrants

In letters sent April 24, on the eve of oral arguments to the Supreme Court on Arizona’s immigration law, 15 religious leaders urged President Barack Obama and the 112th Congress to “reassert your authority” and move to enact immigration reform legislation “as soon as possible.”

The national faith leaders expressed concern that, because of its inaction on this issue for several years, the federal government is implicitly transferring “unprecedented authority” to state and local governments to implement immigration policy, to the “detriment of our nation and our local communities.”

Click here to read the letters and send your own.