At Catholic Charities, we stand in solidarity with our immigrant brothers and sisters. We believe that there will be positive change, and we advocate for fairness, justice and compassion on their behalf. We do this in partnership with Catholic Charities agencies across the country, the U.S. Catholic bishops' Justice for Immigrants Campaign, and Pope Francis' Share the Journey Campaign.
The framework for the Justice for Immigrants Campaign began in January 2003 when the bishops in the United States and Mexico issued a joint pastoral letter (Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope) to address the ongoing migration that was taking place in Mexico and the U.S. The letter offered guidance about engaging with undocumented immigrants and migrant children and refugees who were living and working among us, and suggested systematic reforms to U.S. immigration policy. The U.S. and Mexican bishops outlined several criteria for the reform of the U.S. immigration system, including . . . .
1. A broad based legalization (permanent residency) of the undocumented of all nationalities;
2. Reform of our family-based immigration system to allow family members to reunite with loved ones in the United States;
3. Reform of the employment-based immigration system to provide legal pathways for migrants to come and work in a safe, humane, and orderly manner, and;
4. Abandonment of the border "blockade" enforcement strategy.
5. Restoration of due process protections for immigrants.
Additionally, the bishops recognize that the conditions that compel people to leave their homes out of desperation and lack of opportunities to provide for themselves and their families, must be addressed if an effective and comprehensive response to migration is to be achieved. Thus, the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform works closely with the Catholic Campaign Against Global Poverty, initiated by the USCCB Office of International Justice and Peace and Catholic Relief Services. That Campaign aims to reduce poverty through trade, aid and debt reforms. The Immigration Reform and Global Poverty campaigns are integrally related in that one addresses the rights and needs of migrants in the U.S., while the other addresses the rights and needs of persons living in their native countries.
In June 2004, the U.S. Bishops and The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, INC. (CLINIC) made comprehensive immigration reform a priority, with special emphasis on (1) legalization and (2) creating a culture of welcome in which all migrants are treated with respect and dignity. Today, the primary objectives of the Justice for Immigrants Campaign are to:
1. Educate the public, especially the Catholic community, about Church teaching on migration and immigrants;
2. Create political will for just and humane immigration reform;
3. Enact legislative and administrative reforms based on the principles articulated by the bishops; and
4. Organize Catholic networks to assist qualified immigrants obtain the benefits of the reforms.
Since 2004, many other Catholic institutions have joined the Catholic Justice for Immigrants Campaign.
Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas, along with Catholic Charities USA, and the Catholic and Protestant Bishops in Kansas (Click here to read "A Reflection on Illegal Immigration" published by the Catholic and Protestant Bishops in Kansas), are committed to creating a culture of welcome in Southwest Kansas in which all migrants are treated with respect and dignity. Our approach is a continuation of a long 100-plus-year Catholic Charities' tradition in which we help our refugee and immigrant brothers and sisters overcome barriers that impede their adjustment to life in the United States, and help them get settled in their new homes and communities. Depending on the needs, our immigrant services might include:
- Interpreter services, employment training, job placement and counseling services
- Legal immigration services for clients with family-based cases and with applications for legal residence, deferred action for childhood arrivals and citizenship
- A full spectrum of community services including emergency assistance, childcare, after school programs, senior services, and housing
On September 27, 2017, Pope Francis launched the "Share the Journey" Campaign that will run through September 2019. The purpose of this Campaign is to:
- Raise awareness of displaced persons
- Promote opportunities for migrants and communities to share stories and strengthen bonds
Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas will continue to "Share the Journey," advocate for "Justice for Immigrants," welcome migrant newcomers and help them settle in their new home in Southwest Kansas. As part of the Catholic Charities network, we join the Catholic Church in the U.S. in calling for meaningful and compassionate immigration legislation that allows families to remain intact, provides worker protections and addresses the plight of children of undocumented immigrants. We urge action to provide legal means for migrants to enter our nation to work and a path to citizenship for those already here and living in the shadows.
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