Detention at Christmastime: Immigration update

GSR Today - There have been numerous reports about the issues of detaining families who fled violence in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to seek asylum in the United States, from how they’re often deported before they get the hearing American law says they are entitled to, to how they’re being held in what critics say is essentially a prison. Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit hoping to stop the process.

Q & A with Sr. Marcy Jacinto

Troubled Filipino Worker in Japan? Call Sr. Marcy. If you are a Filipino migrant worker in Japan who has had troubles with immigration, chances are you have heard of Sr. Marcy Jacinto. She is the Mercedarian Missionaries of Berriz nun from Zamboanga City, southern Philippines, whose name and mobile phone number are circulating in detention centers for undocumented migrants in Japan, or in homes of families of problematic Filipino workers.

Border Mass reveals our distance

The annual Border Mass at the fence that marks the international boundary between the U.S. and Mexico was celebrated on Saturday, Nov. 22. Bishop Oscar Cantu presided with Bishop Mark Seitz and priests from the three dioceses: Las Cruces, N.M., El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico, that converge at the site. The liturgy commemorates the lives of migrants who have died crossing the border and was especially significant in the wake of President Obama’s announcement of an executive order that will bring reform of U.S. immigration law.

Immigration plight is ongoing

GSR Today - A couple of weeks ago a headline caught my attention: “How can a three year old represent himself in court?” Having been a legal aid attorney for over 20 years, I was curious. How could anyone expect that? We in the U.S. have legal protections in place when children’s welfare is at stake. The system has safeguards which are supposed to prevent their return to dangerous situations.

Q & A with Sr. Marlene Perrotte

Sister of Mercy Marlene Perrotte is all too familiar with violence causing thousands of Central Americans to flee their countries: in the ‘80s when guerilla groups like the Sendero Luminoso were terrorizing Peru, she was there serving as a Maryknoll associate. She’s also worked with the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, providing legal services to unaccompanied minors on the Mexico-U.S. border. Today, she’s working with the American Immigration Lawyers Association to provide legal aid for the hundreds of Central American women and children being detained in Artesia, N.M.

Healing and trust for tortured women

Since 2006, large waves of refugees fleeing from brutal regimes in Eritrea, Sudan and Ethiopia have made their way to Israel, surviving harrowing journeys with smugglers in harsh desert conditions. Altogether, there are approximately 55,000 African asylum seekers in Israel, 35,000 from Eritrea alone. Sr. Azezet Kidane of Comboni Sisters was honored for her role in exposing existence of torture camps in Sinai desert. Now, she must help her community heal.

On the ground in Guatemala, Part II: The story must be told

The Kingdom is certainly “already but not yet.” People like Sr. Sarah Mulligan, SC, and her passionate colleagues are working for change throughout Guatemala, but it is an uphill battle. The corrupt government, Sarah says, does little to lift up its people living in economic poverty. I asked her what the administration’s response has been to the deluge of migrants fleeing north. She told me that initially the country’s leaders considered punishing families who send their children with a few years of jail time for “irresponsible parenting.” Resistance from human rights groups led them to nix the punishment, one that would thrust already suffering families into even greater desperation.