US bishops have organised a week-long series of initiatives focusing on the migration issue, to ask an immigration reform that would give legal status to 11 million illegal immigrants.
The event is due to run from Sunday 5
January to Saturday 11 January.
But this year’s campaign also has a
number of other goals which have been outlined in the English page of
the US Episcopate’s Migration and Refugee Service website.
The campaign aims to raise awareness among US
citizens and public institutions about various aspects of migration. It
focuses on the situation of minors, who are the most vulnerable and are
exposed to exploitation and abuse; the situation of those living
illegally in the US, of those who have become victims of human
trafficking in all its various guises and of refugees who are escaping
conflict and political or religious persecution.
The USCCB’s Migration and Refugee Services are
asking everyone, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, to send post cards
to push Congress “to pass just and compassionate immigration reform.”
The post card outlines five requests addressed to Congress. It is asked
to: provide a path to citizenship for undocumented persons in the
country; preserves family unity as a corner-stone of our national
immigration system; provides legal paths for low-skilled immigrant
workers to come and work in the United States; restores due process
protections to our immigration enforcement policies and that it
addresses the root causes (push factors) of migration, such as
persecution and economic disparity.
As far as human trafficking is concerned, the US
Church aims to encourage people to report all cases of exploitation
witnessed to the police. In the case of refugees, “long term solutions
need to be implemented so that [they] are not forced to remain in camps
but can reintegrate into society and become contributing members of it.”
US bishops introduced National Migration Week over a quarter of a century ago. This year it also coincides with the 10th
anniversary of the Apostolic Letter “Strangers No Longer Together on
the Journey of Hope” published jointly with the Mexican Bishops’
Conference in 2003.