She was bombarded with high-fives and hugs after she got the call — an invitation to meet Pope Francis during his Sept. 22-27 visit to the United States. But Sr. Norma Pimentel's biggest surprise came Monday, when the pope singled her out during a satellite video feed. Pimentel was present at a teleconference hosted at Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, Texas, where she coordinates ministries and services for immigrants. The pope's teleconference was recorded for ABC's "20/20" show, which airs Sept. 4. and includes participants in Los Angeles and Chicago.
A federal judge ordered the release of children and their parents from immigration detention centers "without unnecessary delay" and gave immigration officials two months to comply, according to court documents filed late Friday, Aug. 21.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious membership on Friday morning voted to adopt a resolution that commits member congregations to addressing systemic causes of injustice. While the resolution itself is broad, the focus of the resolution presentation, unquestionably, was immigration and the detention of women and children seeking asylum.
Released with nowhere to go, dozens of undocumented immigrants flooded a church respite center in McAllen, Texas, after the Border Patrol set them free without bus tickets in July. The facility added an extra tent to accommodate the numbers. “We have had upwards of 60 to 65 people spending the night over the last few weeks,” said Deb Boyce, volunteer group coordinator for Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley. “Our numbers have almost doubled because they were being released without bus tickets. They had to stay overnight.”
A federal judge’s ruling against the federal government’s detention of immigrant women and children has led to questions among advocates and attorneys who cheered the decision but wondered whether the federal government will appeal and how immigration officials will comply with the decision.
Most attention by national news organizations has focused on the detention of immigrant children within the U.S. and the religious congregations and organizations that have offered to provide for their needs in lieu of detention. Like the villagers in the parable, at this meeting and another just across the border in Juarez, Mexico, we began to explore what is happening further upstream and how to respond. Hermanos en el Camino, a refuge for undocumented Central American immigrants in Ixtepec, Oaxaca, was founded by Fr. Alejandro Solalinde in 2007. Over the years thousands of refugees have passed through the shelter which is located along the tracks that the train known as “La Bestia” traverses to the north.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are increasingly using practices described as alternatives to keep tabs on immigrants released from the agency’s detention facilities – like using electronic monitoring devices and doing telephone check-ins. Meanwhile, non-profit and faith-based organizations around the country have cobbled together various programs for asylum-seekers, whether from Central America or overseas. The need for these alternatives is increasing, as federal officials recently announced plans to end the long-term detention of most migrant families. Court action is expected any day that could lead to the release of most or all mothers and children in ICE’s three family detention centers.
Three Stats and a Map - Yesterday was the kickoff of the End Detention Week of Action, the brainchild of several groups dedicated to ending immigrant detention in the United States.
A corrections corporation that manages a family detention center for Immigration and Customs Enforcement received a child care license from the state of Texas in May, raising questions among attorneys and activists. A second company is still awaiting approval for its license.
GSR Today - Faith leaders met with White House staff May 21 and presented a letter signed by nearly 1,500 faith leaders from across the country. Among those in the meeting were Sr. Patricia McDermott, president of the Sister of Mercy of the Americas, Lawrence Couch, Director of the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, and Fr. Timothy P. Kesicki, President of the Jesuit Conference of the United States and Canada.
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