Sunday, January 05, 2014

US Church stands up for migrants

Mexican migrantsUS 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.

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