The complex struggles of migrants reached a peak in 2016; at the same time, nations receiving or refusing migrants were involved in bitter debates and social crises. Global stability trembled with protracted regional wars and uneasy economic situations; political pressure toward isolationism was associated with rampant terrorism across borders. Migrants were literally left out in the cold, reviled and dying on borders that were next to what seemed to be rich utopias.
President Donald Trump turned to immigration: He signed three executive orders relating to the border wall, sanctuary cities and increased enforcement. Still unclear is the future of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which grants work authorization and a temporary halt to deportations for certain immigrants who arrived in the United States without documentation as children. The sudden changes to U.S. immigration policy have left many in immigrant-heavy communities anxious and uncertain of what they can expect from this administration.
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.