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.
Three Stats and a Map - According to the U.S. Census, 41.7 million people living here self-identify as African-American – a term that is deceptively simple. For starters, Africa is a vast and diverse continent.
I received an email request for volunteers on the Friday afternoon before Mother’s Day from Ruben Garcia, director of Annunciation House for immigrants and refugees in El Paso, Texas. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had detained 40-some mothers and fathers with children whom they would be processing for release on Sunday, May 10. They contacted Ruben to ask if they could bring them to Nazareth. Ever since last summer a vacant section of the Sisters of Loretto Nazareth Hall nursing home has provided temporary shelter to a small but steady number of refugees, mostly from Central America and certain parts of Mexico hit hard by drug cartel violence.
The House for Men and a House for Families at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago’s Hyde Park opened May 1, 2014. Each is now home to about a dozen people either waiting for final permission to stay in the United States or who do have permission and are learning how to live here – getting training or going to school, finding jobs and saving money for somewhere to live. They are a ministry of Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants, which was formed in 2007 by two Sisters of Mercy, Sr. JoAnn Persch and Sr. Pat Murphy.
The Obama administration's policy of detaining women and children seeking asylum in the U.S. could soon end after a federal judge tentatively ruled that the practice violates a previous court settlement, according to attorneys representing plaintiffs in the case. Issued April 24 by U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in California, the proposed ruling says that the detention policy violates the 1997 Flores v. Meese Settlement Agreement, which states that unaccompanied minors cannot be placed in restrictive lockdown facilities. Attorneys representing both sides have 30 days to reach an agreement on how to wind down family detention, according to two memos obtained by NCR.
Some 183 women and children seeking asylum are held at the Karnes County Residential Center, one of two family detention centers in south Texas operated by companies under contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Their plight is drawing increasing attention, fueled on the inside by a hunger strike and fast, and, on the outside, by legal jockeying and a recent visit by the head of ICE. At the heart of the matter are complaints of lengthy stays in prison-like conditions, as well as a question repeatedly posed by activists, attorneys and faith-based organizations.
Maryknoll Sr. Joseph Lourdes Nubla was born in the Philippines, where she attended Holy Ghost College and Maryknoll College, entering the Maryknoll Sisters in New York in 1960. She has served in a variety of posts in Hong Kong since 1964. She is currently a volunteer with Mission for Migrant Workers in Hong Kong, where she is an official interpreter and translator of statements, helping people from Sri Lanka, India, Nepal and elsewhere avoid exploitation by people employing them as domestic servants.
The last nuns of Beuerberg Abbey have left. The monastery, founded in 1121, today stands empty in the snowy landscape of the Alpine foothills. "Oh, this is not the end! On the contrary," said Sr. Maria Lioba Zezulka, prioress of the Visitandine order, flashing a smile. "This is a new beginning on several wonderful levels! And not just for the refugees who may soon have a home within these walls." Zezulka and the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising have worked a deal to house refugees in the abbey. They hope that, within a few months, families from Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan and other conflict zones can find a home here.
I pulled into the empty church parking lot a few minutes early as the fresh daylight bathed the world anew. I stepped out of the car and stretched, grateful for the warmth after a long and fickle winter. Standing there, I wondered what the coming hours would bring. Today, I would drive a Guatemalan woman and her young daughter to immigration court in Cleveland, about four hours away. The social worker had told me that this would be the woman’s third trip to immigration court since arriving to the U.S. in November 2014.
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.
March 30: Faith leaders call for end to 'harsh policy' of detaining immigrant families on NCRonline.org
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