'They feel besieged' - Immigration update

Women and children fleeing horrific violence in Central America remain caught in the wheels of the American legal system, advocates say, despite a February court order that the government take their cases seriously. More than 1,000 families are still in detention, mainly in Karnes and Dilley, Texas, where advocates say they are traumatized and depressed as their cases languish in the immigration court system. Advocates also continue to work with the thousands of other asylum seekers who are released until their court dates, providing legal and logistical support.

At Honduran airport, church workers welcome migrants deported from U.S.

Several times a week, Sr. Valdete Wilemann watches scores of deported Hondurans walk down the stairs of a U.S. government airplane onto the tarmac of the international airport here. She ushers them into a church-run reception center at the far end of the runway, where the immigrants are welcomed home, offered a quick snack, and have their belts and shoelaces returned. The Scalabrini sister from Brazil has run the Center for Attention to Returned Migrants for 10 years, said she constantly fights seeing her job as routine. "I tell the Lord not to let me grow accustomed to the experience of the migrants

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.