During this National Migration Week, I've been reflecting on these opportunities I've had to "migrate" out of my comfort zone and to be welcomed as "stranger" in other lands. I reverence those crucial parts of my life. They have made me a better Christian.
GSR Today - From Syria to Central America to the Pacific Islands, the forces of war, economics and nature carry the global refugee crisis into 2017 as relief workers, the United Nations and religious deal with this "new normal."
Thinking about the experience of sharing my life with immigrant children in detention in the United States deeply touches my heart. My time with them was short, only three years, but very profound. Through them, God gave me so much, changed me so much.
In a federal courtroom, Sr. Janice Vanderneck squeezed her rosary beads, praying for a miracle: Martin Esquivel Hernandez's release from prison so he could be reunited with his wife and three young children. Esquivel has been charged with a felony for re-entering the United States from Mexico, which he and his family left to escape drug violence.
Advocates and attorneys for undocumented immigrants aren't waiting until Inauguration Day to assist the millions of people who find their status in even greater jeopardy given the campaign rhetoric by President-elect Donald Trump.
Days after a Texas judge ruled that a state agency cannot issue day-care licenses to two immigration detention centers, attorneys and advocates for asylum seekers acted to ensure the decision withstands challenges. Activists and volunteers are hopeful it signals a change in U.S. immigration policy and practice. The ruling is the latest in a series of salvos that have pitted the Texas Department of Family Protective Services and companies operating the detention centers against attorneys and advocates for detainees.
It is usually the week before Christmas in the season of Advent that I have the opportunity to pray and walk in a traditional procession with others, re-enacting Mary and Joseph seeking shelter for the time when their child would be born. "Posada" in Spanish means "inn." This seeking shelter, safety, security is expressed by the word "posada."
What is an immigrant to do now that Donald Trump has been elected? While well-meaning people encourage us to think positively or wait it out, many among us don't have that luxury. The new administration is poised to directly and significantly alter the lives of certain groups of people. My fellow Guatemalan parishioners are in that group, and they're deeply troubled.
Now known for its swift immigration response to the Syrian refugee crisis, Canada accepts more Syrian refugees than any other country. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reported that the country welcomed more than 33,000 Syrian refugees between November 4, 2015, and mid-October 2016. Catholics across Canada sprang to action to help the refugees, like Ursulines of Jesus in Chatham, and Jesuit-run parishes in St. John's, Halifax, Toronto, Guelph and Winnepeg.
Presentation Sr. Cecilia Suwannee Phetpanomporn's vocation took her from Thailand to Australia and back home again, where she now ministers to Karen refugees on the border with Burma.
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