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In November 2000, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a pastoral letter summarizing Catholic teaching on the rights of migrants and refugees.
#Video - #immigration enforcement separates families
Father Sean Carroll S.J., Executive Director of the Kino Border Initiative, testified recently at an Ad-hoc Congressional Hearing. The Jesuit priest is highlighting failures to preserve family unity in the context of immigration enforcement and offering four recommendations for Congressional consideration.
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA believes the U.S. should live up to its tradition of fairness and generosity toward refugees and migrants, and uphold international standards for the treatment of those seeking refuge in this country. Improvements in U.S. law and policy are needed to protect the rights of asylum seekers, forcibly displaced people, vulnerable migrants, and detained immigrants in the United States.
In his testimony, Fr. Carroll noted that “Because of our current policies, the Applied Research Center’s report “Shattered Families” finds that 5,100 children are in foster care since they cannot be with a detained or deported parent. In the first six months of 2011, the United States government removed more than 46,000 mothers and fathers of U.S. citizen children. This reality falls far short of what Scripture teaches regarding care for the widow, the orphan and the stranger. Our current policies essentially leave many children as orphans, wives and husbands as widows and widowers and the stranger deported across the border, away from their family members who need them so deeply.
"This report, supported by our experience and service on the border, confirms the disastrous effects of current U.S. immigration policies on families, whether through the process of deportation or because of mixed immigration status. We can and must do better. Out of respect for the God-given dignity of the human person and my deep commitment to justice and compassion, I offer these four recommendations for your consideration today."
The full text of Fr. Carroll’s testimony as prepared for delivery can be read here:
Pictures by Richard Ross give a stark look at the reality of juvenile justice in the U.S. http://www.juvenile-in-justice.com/
Like your average 1.5-generation Korean American, I was raised in South Korea until I was nine, caming to the United States with my family. Like anyone who lived in Korea in the late nineties, we felt the effects of the East Asian Financial Crisis. My parents decided to move to America, forced to lie about how long we would be staying. Our visas were approved, and we left in January 1998 for Honolulu. It was a challenging time: my father was subject to wage theft, while my mother toiled as a waitress. Living in poverty, we bought used clothes and subsided on fast food. Eventually, we moved to New York City, then to suburban New Jersey. During all of this, my father left our family, leaving umma to be a single mother.
I always knew that I was undocumented. The biggest heartbreak came not from the high school crushes and puppy love, but from my inability to go to college. Despite a strong academic record, my inability to receive financial aid wiped out my dreams. Yet, a last ray of hope came: a liberal arts college in Kentucky granted me a full tuition scholarship. That didn’t last: in 2008, the recession wiped out my school’s endowments, cutting off my stipend. Soon after, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. With all of the pressures, I began experiencing breakdowns and nightmares of ICE agents coming to my dorm room and deporting me. The paranoia was paralyzing. Once I came out as undocumented, I found the strength of community: there were undocumented youth who were active in Kentucky! I saw this issue as a form of systemic oppression against the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses. Coming out led me to realize the irony: that making myself vulnerable actually made me safer. Most importantly, I recognized the American Dream as an oppressive narrative that only causes so much pain. Pulling myself up by the bootstrap, my pathway to a future was closed by the broken immigration system. Pulling herself up by the bootstrap, my mother was diagnosed with Stage II Breast Cancer and an almost insurmountable medical bill. Because these are narratives that are being played over and over in our communities, it’s time for our community to break this bootstrap and stand up for justice. Anything less won’t do.
Image credit: Jill Damatac Futter for Raise Our Story