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Edition No. 138 — September 17, 2020 
Laudato Sí Reflection for September 20, 2020

Sisters of Saint Joseph serving on the Chapter Implementation Subcommittee for Directive II, offer this excerpt from Laudato Sí and questions that you can use for your personal reflection, local community sharing, or whatever other creative way you can incorporate these into your life. Enjoy this reflection for September 20.
A Hot Topic for Our Time

Saint Joseph Villa Zoomers Discuss the Complexities of the Immigration Process

by Julie Gabell, SSJ. Associate
Immigration is a hot political topic these days as we stand poised on the brink of one of the most important elections in our nation’s history. Many issues vie for “first place” on our country’s conscience, but perhaps none is more important than that of Immigration. Why? Because we are all immigrants or descendants of immigrants and the very fabric of our national identity owes its existence to principles in which our founders believed. 

In an effort to understand the complexities of the immigration process, Zoomers devoted several sessions to the unraveling of this complicated topic. Of particular value in our discussions was input from Peter Pedemonti who joined Zoom several weeks ago. His well-founded reputation as co-founder and director of the New Sanctuary Movement in Philadelphia’s Kensington area made us feel the distress experienced by those seeking asylum in the United States: children separated from parents, women terrorized and/or raped, husbands taken from their homes in the middle of the night, due processing rights restricted at the border. To offset such abuses, the New Sanctuary Movement espouses the values of dignity, justice, and hospitality lived out in everyday life.

In 2020 the Leadership Council of Women Religious (LCWR) took an active stance in seeking just and compassionate immigration reform that reflected Catholic social principles and the values of our nation. Recently Zoomers discussed proposals of the group’s Immigration Action Plan that seek to stem the current divisive and racist rhetoric aimed at immigrants. The ten-point list of action plans proposed by LCWR encompasses a wide range of related measures that include 1) Ending discriminatory targeting of specific ethnic groups, 2) Decriminalizing migration related offenses, 3) Funding community-based Case Management Programs, and 4) Expanding child-sensitive procedures that ensure fair immigration proceedings for children.
 
The “ins and outs” of our immigration system boggle the mind. They should, however, make us aware of our responsibility as concerned Christians to reach beyond our limited knowledge to a compassionate understanding of those who seek a better way of life for themselves and their families. 
NOTE: Immigrant Classifications in the United States: 
  • Immigrant--Person who seeks permanent residency in the U.S. e.g. one who comes for the purpose of family reunification.
  • Migrant—One who holds a temporary “green card” for work purposes.
  • Refugee—Person forced to leave their country due to war, persecution, or natural disaster.
  • Asylum seekers– Those seeking international protection within the U.S. borders, but whose claim for refugee status has not yet been determined. 

Acronyms
  • ICE- Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.
  • DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
  • CBP – Customs and Border Protection
  • MPP – Migrant Protection Protocols
  • LPR – Lawful Permanent Resident- or green card recipient 
  • INT - Focuses on immigrant seeking family reunification.
  • USCIS-Unites States Immigration Services 
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"With the help of God's grace and in fidelity to our founder's expressed wish, we live and work lovingly among all persons with a special preference for those who are poor, which calls us wherever we are to be in union with them."
                         — SSJ Constitutions #21
Editor, Sister Carole Pollock SSJ | 215.248.7269 | cpollock@ssjphila.org |http://ssjphila.org/home/