Migration Policy and Advocacy in 2013 and Beyond: Day 1

JFI-logo-whiteIt 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

Migration Policy and Advocacy in 2013 and Beyond: New Challenges and New Opportunities

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) are sponsoring the third Justice for Immigrants Conference which begins this afternoon and goes through Wednesday morning, in Atlanta, Georgia.

The first conference was held in Chicago, December 2010 and the second, in Salt Lake City, Utah, January 2012.  Each conference has brought together approximately 225 Catholic leaders to hear from a wide array of speakers and to share our concerns for people who migrate to the United States and to discuss possibilities for humane and just immigration reform.

At this moment I am en route to Atlanta and adding this blogpost while comfortably flying at an altitude of 36,000 ft. – approximately one hour outside of Atlanta.  I am looking forward to this conference, ready to listen, learn, be challenged and to challenge, and then return to Saint Paul with new opportunities for us to consider.

A quick glance at the rich and packed conference agenda:

♦Daniel G. Groody, C.S.C.,Associate Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame:  Migration and the Eucharist

♦The Impact of Federal Court Decisions on Federal and State Immigration Legislation: Panelists willl discuss recent federal court decisions, including the U. S. Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona v. United States and how they impact federal and state immigration laws in 2013.

♦ Moving Forward:  Immigration Reform in 2013 and Beyond (note, we are no longer using the word “comprehensive”). Here panelists will discuss prospects for federal immigration reform legislation in 2013 and beyond andprovide suggestions for pushing the issue forward and winning the legislative battle.

♦ Lunch presentation:  A Conversation with Federal Officials:  Donald Kerwin, Acting Executive Director, CLINIC and U. S. Department of Homeland Security and White House Domestic Policy Council Representatives

♦ Workshops Tuesday afternoon include:  Promoting Integration of Immigrant Families through access to Community Resources; State and Federal Policy Issues Raised by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); Immigration Enforcement and Detention:  How Can Advocates Respond at the State and Local Levels?; and Parish Organizing: Building Grassroots Support for Achieving Immigration and Refugee Goals.

♦ Dinner presentation:  Communicating the Pro-Immigrant and Pro-Refugee Message featuring Most Reerend John C. Wester, Diocese of Salt Lake City, Chairman, USCCB Committee on Communications.

Wednesday morning:

♦ Taking Care of Immigrants and Refugees at the State and Federal Levels:  Healthcare, Education and Family Separation

♦Moving Foward with Advocacy:  A Facilitated Open-Forum Strategy Discussion.

President Obama and Congress have many issues to deal with, including the imminent need to address the “Fiscal Cliff”, and the President and members of Congress have stated that addressing immigration reform is a priority.  I am excited to hear what the presenters have to offer us as we move migration policy and advocay forward into 2013 and beyond.

To learn more:

Justice For Immigrants Campaign

Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Posted by:  Ginger K. Hedstrom, Justice Associate