“Migrants are persons… They are the symbol of all those rejected by today’s globalized society… The weakest and most vulnerable must be helped…This is a tremendous responsibility, from which no one is exempt if we wish to fulfill the mission of salvation and liberation, in which the Lord himself has called us to cooperate.”
– Homily on July 8, 2019 by Pope Francis in a Mass commemorating the sixth anniversary of his visit to the island of Lampedusa in honor of the thousands of migrants who had lost their lives attempting to cross the Mediterranean, often in flimsy, overcrowded boats.
Dear faith community,
We received reports of many of you wanting to take action or assist immigrant and refugee families and children arriving at the U.S./Mexico border and in our communities. Please see the list below and take action in solidarity with people seeking refuge, safety and security in the United States.
1) Call and Take Action on July 18th to Oppose Inhumane Detention Conditions for Immigrants and Widespread Enforcement Actions.
Recent reports have documented the inhumane and unsanitary conditions in which immigrants arriving to our southern border, including children and families, are being held in by the Department of Homeland Security. In addition to these unacceptable conditions, we have seen the Administration continue to pursue an enforcement-only immigration approach. It has continued to separate families at the border and threaten widespread immigration enforcement actions, which strike fear into our parishes and communities.
The faith community has decried this treatment of children and families not only as a violation of human dignity and rights, but also as fundamentally contrary to religious teachings and the sacred call to love our neighbor and care for people who are the most at risk, especially children. Catholic social tradition teaches us that every person deserves equality and respect. It also teaches us that family is sacred-it is the cornerstone of our church and our community.
For these reasons, USCCB’s Committee on Migration has voiced its strong opposition to the conditions and planned actions, noting: “Recent reports of overcrowded and unsanitary conditions are appalling and unacceptable for any person in U.S. custody, but particularly for children, who are uniquely vulnerable.” And further that: “Enforcement actions like those anticipated this week by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency separate families, cause the unacceptable suffering of thousands of children and their parents, and create widespread panic in our communities.”
Today, Catholic leaders are launching a campaign to end the inhumane treatment of immigrant and refugee children and families at the border, in detention centers, and in communities across the country. Catholics are gathering in Washington, DC (information is here); they have come to stand with immigrant communities threatened by our broken immigration system. The time to take a prophetic stand and say NO MORE is now.
We ask you to Act NOW! Call the White House and let your voice join the chorus of Catholics who say no more to tearing families and communities apart and say yes to welcome and love. Call the White House Now! Call (202) 456-1111
(Suggested Script: As a person of faith, I am calling today to strongly oppose the inadequate and unsanitary conditions in which immigrants, including children and families, are being held while in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security. I also oppose actions that unnecessarily separate immigrant families at the border, as well as in communities around the country through widespread enforcement actions. Family is sacred-it is the cornerstone of our church and our community and must be protected.
Guided by our Catholic faith and our national values, we affirm the dignity of all people and our call to love our neighbors. Every person, every family deserves stability and security.
We urge you to reconsider actions that threaten family unity and address these unacceptable holding and detention conditions. We can and must remain a country that provides refuge for children and families fleeing violence and persecution.)
2) Volunteer or Give.
Support asylum-seeking families who have fled their home countries and are arriving daily. Several Catholic Charities agencies serve as reception and hospitality centers along the U.S./Mexico Border and provide for the immediate needs of released families and assist them with making travel arrangements to their final destinations. Contact your local Catholic Charities affiliate to learn more about their material and volunteer needs.
3) Help calm the fear
With news outlets constantly reporting that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is ramping-up efforts, we want to reassure our community that the Catholic Church is here to provide support and information. It’s an excellent opportunity to share the resources with anyone in the community who needs it. Remember that a significant part of the fear that people may have is due to a lack of understanding or failure to prepare for an encounter with federal authorities. Visit thenextamerica.org/calm-fear/ for information on how you can help.
4) Join us at the Mass in Recognition of All Immigrants on Saturday, September 7th, 2019.
Last year, over 3,000 people attended the Mass held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, presided by Archbishop Jose H. Gomez and will feature the relics of three saints – St. Junipero Serra, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, and St. Toribio Romo. If you would like to promote the mass or would like help with ordering a bus, please contact the Office of Immigration Affairs for the LA Archdiocese at (213) 637-7820 or email@example.com .
Prayer opens our hearts to the Holy Spirit and strengthens us to carry out God’s work with compassion, devotion, and love. You and others can use the USCCB Prayer for Migrant Families to ask God to protect and provide for our immigrant sisters and brothers in Christ, or affirm your solidarity with them with the USCCB Prayer for Migrants and Refugees.
Thank you for your continued support.
Director – Immigration & Public Affairs
Archdiocese of Los Angeles
(213) 637-7484 off