- I highlighted the 5 things we need to fight for in immigration reform,
- I posted prayers to deepen our engagement,
- I offered biblical reflections on the topic so that we can adequately respond as people of faith to the issue.
The response has been mostly positive, but many people have had a lot of questions about what they can do, and what they think our government should do. In response I set up a meeting with Andrew Wainer, policy analyst at the Bread for the World Institute in order to get at some of these issues. I have posted the interview on YouTube. You can watch it below:
I personally try to make prayer the beginning and the end of all I do. Prayer invites God to work in and through us, and connects us to the source of Love itself. If was are to be loving toward others knowing the love of God is a great place to start.
Much of the attention around this issue has been directed toward the few radical protesters who are blocking roads and screaming at the Children. We should not let our policy makers only hear that voice. Although this is a complicated issue we should tell our policy makers that we are concerned that the kids are treated with compassion, and are given a fair hearing. There are systems in place that we use to help determine if someone is a refugee, and all efforts should be made to make sure that these kids are given an opportunity to apply. In cases where deportations do need to occur, we should also make it clear that they need to be done in an ethical and responsible way so that we are not putting a child’s life and safety as rick while we do it. Finally we need to encourage the government to consider make investments into helping make places like El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras more secure. Our aid to these neighbors can have a huge impact on helping their economies develop. In many cases the instability in these regions is a result of the USA’s relationship to them. Our economic system too often contributes to destabilization in these regions and we need to take time to critically self-evaluate how our trade policies and other factors might be contributing to the difficulties. You can see the USCCB’s campaign for immigrant justice here: http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/index.shtml
ServeThere are many ways to serve. In fact the Catholic Church is one of the primary leaders in efforts to help. One of the most important ways is to help support those who are working with immigrants to make sure they are being represented fairly when they come to USA. Far too often when immigrants come to the USA they are taken advantage of. They are abused by employers, lawyers, and many others. Thankfully there are many fighting with them to ensure that immigrants are protected. Here are a few ways you can serve:
- Consider volunteering or donating to your local Catholic legal services provider. You can find one near you here – https://cliniclegal.org/affiliates/directory
- You can get your parish involved with the movement for reform. The USCCB provides a kit filled with tools to help you do it. Get it here: http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/parish-kit.shtml
- Consider writing an op-ed in your local paper expressing your concern. Here is a sample to get some ideas flowing: http://www.justiceforimmigrants.org/documents/sample-op-ed.pdf
- Parishes and other faith based organizations have been working to try to take these Children in. Consider getting involved locally if an organization in your area is given the opportunity to help.
- Consider becoming a foster family for international Children – Opening your home for displaced kids is one of the ways that Catholic Charities are helping, and they are inviting you to help too. Find out more here: http://www.catholiccharitiesfortworth.org/ifc or write to Migratingchildren@usccb.org to find out if there are opportunities in your area to help!
- Donate! If you would like to give money to help go to the National Catholic Fund For Migration And Refugee Services web page: http://www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/migration-and-refugee-services/national-catholic-campaign-for-migration-and-refugee-services.cfm
- Contact the USCCB’s Contact Migration and Refugee Services at 202-541-3352 to find out the latest ways you can help
Finally I wanted to close in prayer…
This is a prayer I wrote a couple weeks ago while I was thinking and praying about this issue…. I hope it’s on you can use too:
As always I pray you might know God more fully and live in grace and peace!