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Articles/Papers/Study Guides

CRS President: The Fear of Starvation Drives the Central American Exodus
Sean Callahan, Millenial Journal, April 24, 2019

Perhaps even more than the threat of gang violence, fear of starvation is motivating the current wave of migration to the U.S. southern border. The surge is coming largely from rural parts of Central America, especially Guatemala, where drought has killed the corn and beans people grow to eat.

Inside The Largest And Most Controversial Shelter For Migrant Children In The U.S.
By John Burnett, National Public Radio, Feb. 13, 2019

Thousands of unaccompanied migrant children continue to arrive at the Southern border every month, seeking asylum. The government sends many of them to an emergency intake shelter in South Florida. That facility has come under intense scrutiny because it’s the only child shelter for immigrants that’s run by a for-profit corporation and the only one that isn’t overseen by state regulators.

Walking Toward Hope – Advent/Christmas Immigration Prayer Resource
Interfaith Immigration Coalition, 2018

The Interfaith Immigration Coalition’s Holy Days and Holidays committee has developed a series of eight prayers, which can be used throughout the Advent and Christmas seasons. Each two-page reflection guide includes a brief reflection on the scripture of the day, the story of an immigrant or refugee, suggested actions, and a list of additional resources.

Changing climate forces desperate Guatemalans to migrate
By Gina Steffens, National Geographic, Oct. 23, 2018

Drought and shifting weather are making it difficult for many small-scale farmers to feed their families, fueling a human crisis.

“Are You Alone Now?” After Raid, Immigrant Families are Separated in the American Heartland
Be Eli Saslow, The New York Times, June 30, 2018

“Even as President Trump and his administration promise to reunite families separated at the U.S. border, a similar crisis continues unabated within the country’s interior, where children are separated from their undocumented parents with little scrutiny and increasing frequency.”

Welcome at the Manger: Advent Devotions
Interfaith Immigration Coalition, Dec. 2017

Reflect upon the migration story of the Holy family and the stories of immigrant “Dreamers” and “Temporary Protected Status” holders each week of Advent. Then offer the gifts of your prayers and actions to assist immigrants in this urgent moment.

Advent Reflection Guide: A Season to Welcome the Stranger
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Dec. 2017

The Advent Reflection Guide contains reflections, questions, prayers, and actions based on each week’s Gospel reading and the experience of communities affected by forced migration in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

An Encounter with a Dreamer
By Nancy Sylvester, Global Sisters Report, Nov. 1, 2017

IHM Sister Nancy Sylvester reflects upon her recent encounter with a  DACA recipient.

Emergency Planning for Immigrant Families: A 50-State Resource
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, 2017

The president’s Jan. 25, 2017 executive orders on border and immigration enforcement effectively put more than 11 million undocumented and other immigrants living in the U.S. at risk of detention and deportation. As a result, families at risk face challenges and difficult decisions in preparing for the possibility of being separated from one another. Planning to ensure children (as well as other dependents) and financial assets are taken care of is crucial but preparation can be complex. Each state has its own laws, legal forms and processes related to advance planning issues such as naming a guardian who is legally able to make important decisions for a child in a parent’s absence. This resource includes state-by-state links to information regarding guardianship and powers of attorney, as well as links to state bar and consular support services.

“Here and There” LCWR Resolution to Action on Immigration
By Doris Regan, OP, and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious Global Concerns Committee, Summer 2017

In her reflection, Doris Regan, OP, deftly weaves her experiences with immigrants in the United States and Honduras into a tapestry of suffering, perseverance, and hope. Her challenge to readers is to embrace the story of the people of God who were themselves immigrants, exiles, and refugees, and to become border-crossers of every kind.

A New Threat to DACA Could Cost States Billions of Dollars
By Nicole Prchal Svajlenka, Tom Jawetz and Angie Bautista-Chavez, Center for American Progress, July 21, 2017

If DACA ends, hundreds of thousands of young people will be forced out of the workforce, upending their lives and the lives of their families, creating tremendous disruption for businesses and sending shockwaves through the economies of most states.

New Trump Deportation Rules Allow Far More Expulsions
By Michael  Shear and Ron Nixon, New York Times, Feb. 21, 2017

President Trump has directed his administration to enforce the nation’s immigration laws more aggressively, unleashing the full force of the federal government to find, arrest and deport those in the country illegally, regardless of whether they have committed serious crimes.

What government owes Flint’s poisoned immigrant community
By Jacob Wheeler, Bridge Magazine, May 24, 2016

Latino immigrants, including some in the United States illegally, were among the last to know about lead in Flint’s water. What is the state’s duty to help hard-to-find residents?

The Refugee Crisis No One’s Talking About
By Joseph Sorrentino, In These Times, Oct. 19, 2015

The Central American refugee crisis is just as large and urgent as the Syrian refugee crisis. Why are we ignoring it?

An Unforgiveable Waste
By Lindsay Harris, American Immigration Lawyers Association, Nov. 2, 2015

A personal and moving account of one attorney’s experience at the Dilley family detention center.

LCWR Fall 2015 Resolution to Action: “We are Called to End Family Detention – Now!”
By Kathleen Erickson, RSM, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Oct. 2015

The LCWR Global Concerns Committee’s fall publication focuses on ending the detention of migrant families in the United States.

 I Know an American ‘Internment’ Camp When I See One
By Satsuki Ina, American Civil Liberties Union, May 27, 2015

Psychotherapist Satsuki Ina, who was born in a Japanese-American prison camp during World War II, recounts her visits to two family detention facilities in Texas and the psychological toll detention takes on the women and children imprisoned there.

Unlocking Human Dignity: A  Plan to Transform the U.S. Immigrant Detention System
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Center for Migration Studies, May 2015

This report offers policy recommendations to Congress and the administration to build a system that affords due process protections, honors human dignity and minimizes the use of detention.

The Shame of America’s Family Detention Camps
Wil S. Hilton, New York Times, Feb. 4, 2015

This article delves into the rapidly expanding family detention system in the United States.

Immigration Reform: Your Lenten Promise
Justice for Immigrants, Feb. 2015

In each unit you will find suggestions on how you can welcome immigrants; support  pro-immigrant legislative and administrative reforms and educate your friends and neighbors.

“We Are One Family Under God” National Migration Week Resources
USCCB, January 2015

Resources for National Migration Week and beyond are available at this site including a bilingual prayer card and a prayer for migrant children.

Sanctuary 101: How Churches and Synagogues are Stopping Deportations
Esther Mereno, Groundswell, Oct. 2014

The Sanctuary Movement has been rebirthed this year, with over 100 congregations supporting moral action to help our undocumented brothers and sisters in need.

The Facts on Immigration Today
The Center for American Progress, Oct. 23, 2014

Originally published in April of 2013, this resources has been updated with the latest, most essential facts  including demographics; federal immigration policy; public opinion on immigration and unaccompanied children at the U.S. southern border.

For Profit Family Detention: Meet the Private Prison Corporations Making Millions By Locking Up Refugee Families
By Cristina Parker,  Judy Greene, Bob Libal, and Alexis Mazón, Grassroots Leadership, Oct. 2014

This report exposes the troubling track record of the private prison companies that are poised to make millions of dollars locking up Central American women and children in immigrant family detention centers.

The Untold History of Unaccompanied Minors
By Jorge Rivas, Fusion, Aug. 4, 2014

A collection of eleven 60-second videos from scholars and activists.

“Becoming Welcoming Communities: LCWR August Recess Action Kit”
Leadership Conference of Women Religious, August 2014

This tool-kit will help you take action during the August Congressional recess to create welcoming communities and build support for just immigration processes.

Why the Border Crisis is a Myth
Veronica Escobar, New York Times, July 25, 2014

There’s no denying the impact of this latest immigration wave or the need for more resources. However, local communities are doing an amazing job of assisting these migrants.

Blowback on the Border: The United States’ Child Refugee Crisis
Laura Carlsen, Foreign Policy in Focus, July 18,  2014

The dominant narrative of the child refugee crisis has been that foolish parents are sending hapless children north to take advantage of loopholes in U.S. immigration practices. This analysis debunks this and other myths.

Hospitality and Accompaniment for Immigrant Families
USCCB, July 2014

This three-page primer that offers an overview of the situation, as well as suggestions about how your community, organization, or network can help

Unaccompanied Minors Crisis an Informational Webinar – June 13 2014
Catholic Relief Services, 13 June 2014

This slideshow from recent CRS webinar gives an overview of the current humanitarian crisis.

LCWR Statement on Children Crossing Borders Alone
Leadership Conference of Women Religious, June 26, 2014

LCWR is concerned about the increase in the arrival of migrant families with children and children traveling alone on our southern border.  They issued a statement and sent a letter to Congress detailing their concerns.  Additional information about the crisis and the Catholic response is detailed in the July issue of Update.

Border crisis: Five key questions answered
By Peter Sullivan, The Hill, June 29, 2014

A surge of children crossing the southern border and entering the United States illegally has become a political crisis. House Republicans hammered the White House on the issue in recent days while the administration countered by highlighting how it has responded.

5 Things You Need To Know About Unaccompanied Children
By Philip E. Walgin and Angela Maria Kelley, Center for  American Progress, June 18, 2014

The number of children fleeing violence by themselves to the United States from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador has skyrocketed over the past few months. These children are escaping danger in their homelands and running for safety not only to the United States, but also to neighboring nations including
Panama, Belize, and Costa Rica.

Little Known Immigration Mandate Keeps Detention Beds Full
By Ted Robbins, National Public Radio, Nov. 11 2013

A Congressional mandate calls for filling 34,000 beds in some 250 facilities across the country, per day, with immigrant detainees.

Deportations and the Denial of Human Dignity
Thomas H. Smolich, S.J., The Hill, Feb. 20, 2014

As the Obama administration approaches a record-setting two millionth deportation, faith leaders are focusing on the hardship that each of these deportations inflicts on families and communities torn apart by our broken immigration system. However, lost in this debate is the dangerous manner in which these deportations are being carried out.

LCWR Responds to House Republican Standards for Immigration Reform
Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Feb. 3, 2014

This statement by LCWR welcomes the Republican leadership’s willingness to engage in immigration reform but expresses concern about the implications of many of the broad principles outlined by US House Republican leaders in their statement of standards.

“The Heartache of An Immigrant Family”
Sonia Nazario, The New York Times, Oct. 13 2013

When we talk about immigration to the United States,  we tell a hopeful story about courage and sacrifice. But that story obscures the fact that, especially for the poor, immigration is often a traumatizing event, one that tears families apart.

Bring Undocumented Workers Out of the Shadows
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Washington Post, Sept. 1, 2013

An Op-Ed piece on the need for comprehensive immigration reform from the archbishop emeritus of Washington.

Gutierrez: ‘The majority already exists’ on immigration reform
Mike Lillis, The Hill, Aug. 21, 2013

Rep. Luis Gutierrez contends that comprehensive immigration reform would pass the House today if GOP leaders would bring it to the floor.

What Border Enforcement Actually Looks Like
Solange Uwimana, Media Matters, July 16,  2013

Highlights key statistics about border enforcement.

LCWR Resolution to Action:  Immigration Reform and Life and Death on the Border
Jo Ann Showalter, SP, LCWR, Summer 2013

The debate about immigration is not about immigrants. It is about us. Will we be a welcoming, kind, and accepting or will we continue to leave out the poor, the needy; the ones that walk with God?

“Humanitarian Crisis: Migrant Deaths at the U.S. – Mexico Border”
Maria Jimenez, ACLU, 2009

This report explored strategies to protect the human rights of immigrants in the border region.

“A Theology of Immigration”
Daniel Groody, CSC, Notre Dame Magazine, October 2004

This article contains excellent reflections on Scripture and Rev. Groody’s own experience as a priest familiar with the situation of immigrants.

“Strangers No Longer: Together on A Journey of Hope”
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2003

A pastoral letter concerning migration from the Catholic Bishops of Mexico and the United States.

“Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2000

The Bishops pastoral letter on immigration.

Videos and Interactive Resources

VIDEO: Locking Up Immigrants for Profit
Molly Crabapple, Fusion, June 3, 2015

Congress requires Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also called ICE, to keep 34,000 immigrants behind bars each day in order to keep its funding. But, out of the 350 facilities it uses to incarcerate these immigrants, only eight are owned and operated by ICE itself. For the rest, ICE pays between $122-$200 per person, per night, to for-profit corporations and local jails

VIDEO: Central American Refugees Flee Violence
Jesuit Refugee Services, July 30, 2014

Jesuit Refugee Services has made a short video succinctly explaining why children and families from the Northern Triangle of Central America are  fleeing for their lives.

Web Links

The Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration and The Catholic Legal Immigration Network. resolved to make comprehensive immigration reform, with special emphasis on legalization, a major public policy priority within the Church.

 Interfaith Worker Justice

IWJ works to educate, organize and mobilize the religious community in the U.S. on issues and campaigns that will improve wages, benefits and working conditions for workers, especially low-wage workers. 

Michigan Immigrant Rights Center

A resource center for advocates seeking equal justice for Michigan’s immigrants, MIRC works to build a thriving Michigan where immigrant communities are fully integrated and respected.

National Immigration Law Center

This site provides excellent up-to-date analysis of immigration policy.

No More Deaths

No More Deaths provides life-saving humanitarian aid (food, water and basic medical care) to migrants crossing the Mexico/Arizona border.