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We Must Continue to Work to Protect DACA

Posted on 12. Aug, 2017 by .

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As you may know, DACA is currently in jeopardy. Ten anti-immigrant Attorneys General have threatened to sue the Trump Administration if DACA isn’t ended bySeptember 5th. Conversely, on unnamed-2July 20th, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced a strong bipartisan legislative solution that would provide DREAMers a path to citizenship.

DACA must stay in place until Congress enacts a clean DREAM Act or broader immigration reform. Rescinding DACA without a legislative solution would be a devastating blow to our nation’s economy and nearly 800,000 DREAMers who live, study and work here. DACA is popular with the public and enjoys the support of employers, educators, community leaders, and elected officials from both parties.

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Chair of the Migration Committee and Bishop of Austin, Texas, recently expressed support for DACA. We urge members to follow the Bishops’ lead and continue making calls and planning for visits to legislative offices during the August recess in support of our immigrant sisters and brothers. Don’t forget about the toolkits and resources for use from both Justice for Immigrants and the Interfaith Immigration coalition. We also encourage you to sign and share this petition from United We Dream. You are also invited to share the Bishops’ letter with your Senator.

We will continue to work towards our nation’s founding values of hospitality and opportunity for those seeking a better life.

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50-state resource aims to help parents prepare for possible deportation

Posted on 12. Aug, 2017 by .

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CLINIC has released a new web-based resource to help guide immigrant parents and their representatives as they put legal protections in place for families in case parents are detained or deported.

Emergency Planning for Immigrant Families: A 50-State Resource, includes links to state-specific documents on guardianship, conservatorship and powers of attorney. Each state page also lists contact information for embassies or consulates for Mexico and Central American nations, as well as links to state bar associations. Some states provide handbooks or other assistance on related topics, which are linked.

“The president’s executive orders on immigration enforcement effectively put all non-citizens in the U.S, particularly those who are undocumented at risk of detention and deportation, at risk of having their families suddenly torn apart,” said Jill Marie Bussey, CLINIC’s director of advocacy.

“Parents need to assess their risk and plan in advance,” Bussey added. “They need to decide who will take care of their children, which may require naming a temporary guardian or completing a power of attorney. They also need to plan for future reunification abroad, which would require children to have proper identity and travel documents.”

Earlier this year, CLINIC released Know Your Rights materials that advise families to plan now for potential enforcement actions by immigration authorities. The new resource supplements that with key information for at-risk families as they make plans.

The resource is designed for use by legal service providers and the public. Immigration attorneys do not necessarily have expertise in the areas of law applicable to guardianship and related matters. The material can help guide non-experts to solid, qualified assistance.

“This area of law is extremely difficult,” said Lisa Parisio, CLINIC’s advocacy attorney for policy and outreach. “From the perspective of an immigration attorney or advocate, we’re not dealing in immigration law. These topics fall under family law or even estate planning.”

“On top of that,” Parisio said, “the laws, legal forms, and procedures—for naming a temporary guardian, for example—are different in each state. And those state-specific laws, forms, and procedures do not necessarily contemplate or cleanly apply to a scenario where a parent needs to name a guardian for a child because they’re at risk of being detained by ICE.”

“We strongly recommend parents contact their consulates well before any enforcement happens,” said Bussey. “This resource provides contact information for consulates and state bar associations. They are in the best position to provide referrals to attorneys in good standing who have the necessary expertise. They may also help connect people in need with accessing legal services.”

“Every parent finds it daunting to face the prospect of being forcibly separated from their children, especially to another country,” said Jeanne Atkinson, CLINIC’s executive director. “Our goal is that this resource will help families easily locate the help they need to put a plan and legal protections in place. We hope that may give them some peace of mind if the worst happens. In the meantime, CLINIC will continue to fight inhumane enforcement policies that needlessly rip families apart.”

Access the resource now

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LA Mayor Will Defy Trump Administration On Immigration

Posted on 12. Aug, 2017 by .

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From Buzzfeed –

Screen Shot 2017-08-12 at 9.38.05 AMLos Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday said he would not bend to President Trump’s threat to withhold federal funds from cities that don’t help the federal government take a harder line with undocumented immigrants.

“We will not change what we are doing and our values are not for sale,” Garcetti said during an interview with BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith at an event in Rancho Palos Verdes. “This decision was more of the kind of ideological rhetoric that actually makes us less safe.”

The comments came one day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions said cities must notify the Department of Homeland Security at least 48 hours before releasing immigrant detainees when asked. and give federal officials access to jails or risk losing millions in crime-fighting aid grants.

Garcetti said he doesn’t believe LA would lose any money by continuing with business as usual, even under the new threats from the Trump administration — pointing to multiple courts that have ruled that local police can’t hold people longer than they normally would for immigration authorities.

“What they’re asking the city to do is in violation of the Constitution,” Garcetti said.

Garcetti issued an executive directive in March barring city employees from helping immigration authorities in all but serious cases, while expanding policies that protect undocumented immigrants.

Still, Los Angeles hasn’t adopted an official “sanctuary city” ordinance like in San Francisco, which prohibits employees from collaborating with federal immigration officials. Instead, LA officials point to a long-standing policy, Special Order 40, which prohibits police from approaching people for the sole purpose of determining their immigration status.

At the same time, immigrant advocates complain that the LAPD conducts operations with Immigration and Customs Enforcement that focus on transnational gangs.

The justification for those operations is that they target criminal activity rather than immigration status. However, a BuzzFeed News investigation found that some people caught up in the operations — who are not charged with, convicted of, or suspected of committing any crime — were arrested by LAPD officers and transferred to the custody of ICE, which began deportation proceedings against them.

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Pope Francis and Active Nonviolence

Posted on 30. Jul, 2017 by .

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(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a Message to the participants in the G20 meeting taking place in Germany July 7-8. The Message is addressed to the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, and details what the Holy Father recognizes as four principles of action for the building of fraternal, just and peaceful societies: time is greater than space; unity prevails over conflict; realities are more important than ideas; and the whole is greater than the part.

Please find the full text of Pope Francis’ Message, in its official English translation, below…

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To Her Excellency
Mrs Angela Merkel
Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany

Following our recent meeting in the Vatican, and in response to your thoughtful request, I would like to offer some considerations that, together with all the Pastors of the Catholic Church, I consider important in view of the forthcoming meeting of the G20, which will gather Heads of State and of Government of the Group of major world economies and the highest authorities of the European Union.  In doing so, I follow a tradition begun by Pope Benedict XVI in April 2009 on the occasion of the London G20.  My Predecessor likewise wrote to Your Excellency in 2006, when Germany held the presidency of the European Union and the G8.

In the first place, I wish to express to you, and to the leaders assembled in Hamburg, my appreciation for the efforts being made to ensure the governability and stability of the world economy, especially with regard to financial markets, trade, fiscal problems and, more generally, a more inclusive and sustainable global economic growth (cf. G20 Leaders Communiqué, Hangzhou Summit, 5 September 2016).  As is evident from the Summit’s programme, such efforts are inseparable from the need to address ongoing conflicts and the worldwide problem of migrations.

In my Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, the programmatic document of my Pontificate addressed to the Catholic faithful, I proposed four principles of action for the building of fraternal, just and peaceful societies: time is greater than space; unity prevails over conflict; realities are more important than ideas; and the whole is greater than the part.  These lines of action are evidently part of the age-old wisdom of all humanity; I believe that they can also serve as an aid to reflection for the Hamburg meeting and for the assessment of its outcome.

Time is greater than space.  The gravity, complexity and interconnection of world problems is such that there can be no immediate and completely satisfying solutions. Sadly, the migration crisis, which is inseparable from the issue of poverty and exacerbated by armed conflicts, is proof of this.  It is possible, though, to set in motion processes that can offer solutions that are progressive and not traumatic, and which can lead in relatively short order to free circulation and to a settlement of persons that would be to the advantage of all.  Nonetheless, this tension between space and time, between limit and fullness, requires an exactly contrary movement in the minds of government leaders and the powerful.  An effective solution, necessarily spread over time, will be possible only if the final objective of the process is clearly present in its planning.  In the minds and hearts of government leaders, and at every phase of the enactment of political measures, there is a need to give absolute priority to the poor, refugees, the suffering, evacuees and the excluded, without distinction of nation, race, religion or culture, and to reject armed conflicts.

At this point, I cannot fail to address to the Heads of State and of Government of the G20, and to the entire world community, a heartfelt appeal for the tragic situation in South Sudan, the Lake Chad basin, the Horn of Africa and Yemen, where thirty million people are lacking the food and water needed to survive.  A commitment to meet these situations with urgency and to provide immediately support to those peoples will be a sign of the seriousness and sincerity of the mid-term commitment to reforming the world economy and a guarantee of its sound development.

Unity prevails over conflict.  The history of humanity, in our own day too, presents us with a vast panorama of current and potential conflicts.  War, however, is never a solution.   As the hundredth anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s Letter to the Leaders of the Warring Peoples draws near, I feel bound to ask that the world put an end to all these “useless slaughters”.  The goal of the G20 and of other similar annual meetings is to resolve economic differences peacefully and to agree on common financial and trade rules to allow for the integral development of all, in order to implement the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (cf. Communiqué of the G20 Hangzhou Summit).  Yet that will not be possible unless all parties commit themselves to substantially reducing levels of conflict, halting the present arms race and renouncing direct or indirect involvement in conflicts, as well as agreeing to discuss sincerely and transparently all their differences.  There is a tragic contradiction and inconsistency in the apparent unity expressed in common forums on economic or social issues, and the acceptance, active or passive, of armed conflicts.

Realities are more important than ideas.  The fateful ideologies of the first half of the twentieth century have been replaced by new ideologies of absolute market autonomy and financial speculation (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 56).  In their tragic wake, these bring exclusion, waste and even death.  The significant political and economic achievements of the past century, on the other hand, were always marked by a sound and prudent pragmatism, guided by the primacy of the human being and the attempt to integrate and coordinate diverse and at times opposed realities, on the basis of respect for each and every citizen.  I pray to God that the Hamburg Summit may be illumined by the example of those European and world leaders who consistently gave pride of place to dialogue and the quest of common solutions: Schuman, De Gasperi, Adenauer, Monnet and so many others.

The whole is greater than the part.  Problems need to be resolved concretely and with due attention to their specificity, but such solutions, to be lasting, cannot neglect a broader vision.  They must likewise consider eventual repercussions on all countries and their citizens, while respecting the views and opinions of the latter.  Here I would repeat the warning that Benedict XVI addressed to the G20 London Summit in 2009.  While it is reasonable that G20 Summits should be limited to the small number of countries that represent 90% of the production of wealth and services worldwide, this very situation must prompt the participants to a profound reflection.  Those states and individuals whose voice is weakest on the world political scene are precisely the ones who suffer most from the harmful effects of economic crises for which they bear little or no responsibility.  This great majority, which in economic terms counts for only 10% of the whole, is the portion of humanity that has the greatest potential to contribute to the progress of everyone.  Consequently, there is need to make constant reference to the United Nations, its programmes and associated agencies, and regional organizations, to respect and honour international treaties, and to continue promoting a multilateral approach, so that solutions can be truly universal and lasting, for the benefit of all (cf. Benedict XVI, Letter to the Honourable Gordon Brown, 30 March 2009).

I offer these considerations as a contribution to the work of the G20, with trust in the spirit of responsible solidarity that guides all those taking part.  I ask God’s blessings upon the Hamburg meeting and on every effort of the international community to shape a new era of development that is innovative, interconnected, sustainable, environmentally respectful and inclusive of all peoples and all individuals (cf. Communiqué of the G20 Hangzhou Summit).

I take this occasion to assure Your Excellency of my high consideration and esteem.

From the Vatican, 29 June 2017

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Undocumented immigrant driver’s licenses near milestone in California

Posted on 30. Jul, 2017 by .

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Nearly a million undocumented drivers could be licensed in California by the end of the year.

Through June 2017, the Department of Motor Vehicles has issued approximately 905,000 driver’s licenses under Assembly Bill 60, the law requiring applicants to prove only their identity and California residency, rather than their legal presence in the state.

Passed in 2013, after more than 15 years of lobbying by advocates, AB 60 was intended to bolster driver-1public safety and reduce penalties for undocumented immigrants who drive. When it finally took effect at the beginning of 2015, making California the 10th state to offer driver’s licenses to immigrants living in the country illegally, the response was so immense that it doubled initial expectations.

That pace has since slowed considerably. The DMV issued about 11,000 AB 60 licenses last month, the lowest number since the program launched. There have been approximately 83,000 issued in the first half of 2017, only slightly more than March 2015, when the monthly total peaked with 76,000.

A study released by Stanford University researchers in April credited the law with reducing hit-and-run accidents statewide by at least 7 percent in its first year of implementation. Supporters have suggested it may also be a responsible for a surge in organ donors.

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