It truly is hard to know where to begin. Speakers and panelists include Tyler Moran, Deputy Director for Immigration, Domestic Policy Council and Esther Olavarria, Counselor to the Secretary, Department of Homeland Security from the Obama Administration as well as experts from across the country on detention of migrants, parish organizing, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Integration of Immigrant Families, etc. Daniel G. Groody, C.S.C., Associate Professor of Theology, Notre Dame University provided our breakfast presentation “Theology of Migration” that built upon his work when he was in St. Paul in the fall of 2011.
This is also a very inclusive conference, with many people representing their own immigrant communities and DREAMERS who are a powerful energetic force in moving immigration reform forward.
Anyone who knows me well, knows I type quickly and with accuracy. Yes, I take copious notes. Yet, this conference is so packed that it is all but impossible to contain it all. Herein lies one of the masterful gifts of this conference. The generosity of the organizers and the speakers. In our conference packet we have a CD filled with the following documents:
~~ Press releases from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
~~ Comprehensive Immigration Reform Elements
~~ Economic Instability and the Migrant Family
~~ Community Resources for Immigrant Families
~~The Rights of Immigrants in the United States (from Catholic Charities – Atlanta)
~~ICE Helpline Flyer (English and Spanish)
~~ Justice for Immigrants’ parish education and organizing manual: Enriching Our Diversity
~~ MRS’ Migrant and Refugee Children information (one page) and 2011 Annual Report
~~K. Peck and F. McBayer Powerpoing: Promoting Integration of Immigrant Families
~~CLINIC: Gov. Brewer’s Executive Order regarding DACA
~~USCCB Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Arizona v. U. S.
~~ 2013 National Migration Week resources
~~ Bishop Wester interview in Our Sunday Visitor: Answering tough questions about immigration
All of this and Daniel Groody, C.S.C. began the day with an update on his work Migration and the Eucharist. Participants will receive his powerpoint presentation as well as the CLINIC powerpoint on Immigration Enforcement and Detention.
At the Migration and Refugee Services/CLINIC Conference last winter in Salt Lake City, we learned about the Utah Compact which contains five principles calling for immigration reform that is free of political or religious language. Here I learned that other immigration reform leaders are forming coalitions to implement compacts in their state including, Texas, Georgia, Alabama, Indiana, Illinois and Minnesota.
There are four Sisters of St. Joseph here from the Congregation of St. Joseph, LaGrange, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Wichita and me (consociate) representing the Sisters of St. Joseph, Saint Paul Province. At lunch today, we learned that there will be a LCWR Caucus on Immigration Reform at 5:30 this afternoon!
It has been a very full day. We began this morning with Mass at 7:00 a.m. and will end at 8:30 after dinner tonight, hosted by Catholic Charities featuring a panel on, “Communicating the Pro-Immigrant and Pro-Refugee Message.” To say that our time here is “packed” is an understatement and I would have it no other way. Every speaker, panelist and conversation deepens and widens our understanding of and commitment to moving immigration reform forward as a civil and a human right based the example of Jesus, the gospel and Catholic Social Teaching!
Once again, I will write a report upon my return to Minnesota, make available the Conference CD, powerpoints by CLINIC powerpint and Daniel Groody, as well as all other resources including the USCCB materials to end human trafficking.
Posted by: Ginger K. Hedstrom, Justice Associate