October 2020 Newsletter

Immigration Justice

“We need to take children.” 

So opened a recent article in the New York Times chronicling the widely-reported (and much-maligned) policy shift that unfolded over the course of spring and summer 2018 regarding undocumented immigrants and asylum-seekers on the US – Mexico border.  During the implementation window of what became known as “child separation,” thousands of children in detention centers were removed from the custody of their parents or guardians; just last week, the Times reported that 545 still have not been reunited with their families.   

Immigration justice is a central theme in the Catholic tradition and yet there is so much misinformation and misunderstanding among Catholics about this critical topic.  CFJ is pleased to launch a new resource page devoted to helping our followers to deepen their understanding of our Catholic call to “share the journey” of our migrant brothers and sisters.   

Up to and including his latest encyclical, “Fratelli Tutti,” Pope Francis has spoken often and with great clarity on the importance of welcoming the stranger, particularly when it comes to immigrants and refugees.  Most recently, he referred to the US policy of child separation as “cruelty of the highest form.”  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has released several guiding documents on our shared responsibility to care for migrants and refugees; it has resoundingly denounced recent policy shifts related to the worsening situation on the border as “ineffective” and “immoral.”  Thought leaders like Sr. Norma Pimentel, Fr. James Martin, SJ and others consistently point to the ways in which current US policy is antithetical to the Church’s pro-life commitment. 

Based on our own border immersion experiences, CFJ is particularly passionate about this issue.  We have facilitated two BorderworX programs in May and November 2019, to McAllen, TX and Brownsville, TX/Matamoros, Mexico respectively. You can read more about our trip to McAllen here and more about Brownsville/Matamoros here.  Several staff and organizational friends participated in the Catholic Day of Action in Newark, NJ – one of many demonstrations across the country to protest inhumane immigration policies.  We were proud to host Sr. Norma Pimentel in November 2019 as the distinguished guest at our Magdalene Circle event.               

Despite the clarity of Church teaching on immigration, there is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding among Catholics about how our faith compels us to respond.  This is because immigration (and in particular the current situation on our southern border) is wildly complex and hotly-debated.  It can be hard to separate fact from rhetoric. 

This page is not intended to be exhaustive, but is designed to get you started in “sharing the journey” with our immigrant brothers and sisters.  It includes articles, writings, films, podcasts, books, speeches, artistic depictions, and actions you can take. 

Please share other resources with us that you have come across and found helpful. We are all together in this sacred work of building a beloved community.