IAUSA Irish Apostolate

Update on the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform  

Issue: # 107

 August 2014
In This Issue
How We Treat Vulnerable Children
Will President Obama act Alone on Immigration?
A Message from Pope Francis
The President's Discretion, Immigration Enforcement, and the Rule of Law
Unauthorized Immigrants Today
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Current Articles 

Migrant Children, Uninvited Guests, and Welcoming the Stranger  


Huffington Post 




Obama Weighs Broader Move on Legal Immigration


Tinkering can't Fix the Broken Immigration System



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How we treat Vulnerable Children on the Border shows the World America's Values
In early August, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo,the auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration wrote an op-ed that was published in the Washington Post.

Here is an excerpt:


In the end, we need to ask ourselves some tough questions and determine how our nation - the largest economy in the world and the most powerful - can reset our policies toward Central America, our own back yard.


We provide the market and the weapons that make the drug cartels and gangs stronger. Our trade policies have devastated low-skilled industries in these countries, particularly agriculture. And the lack of accountability and transparency in many Central American governments can be traced to our support for military dictatorships in the region during the Cold War. In many ways, this is a crisis of our own making.


In the meantime, we cannot allow vulnerable children and families, many of whom are facing horrors that most Americans cannot imagine, to be the victims of forces far beyond their control. When Congress returns in September, let us hope that it agrees and adopts a humane approach to addressing this crisis. The world is watching and will take note of what we do. Our moral authority is at stake. If we sacrifice these children for political expediency, we may end up sacrificing our soul.


Read the entire article here.



Will President Obama Act Alone on Immigration? 

Every day we see articles in the Press regarding the possibility of President Obama giving administrative relief to some of the undocumented millions who are in the United States.  He could extend Deferred Action to the parents of DACA students, the parents of citizen children, or to those adults who have been here for many years and have equities in their communities.   There is also the potential he could free up the way that green cards are counted so that more visas would become available for employment and families. The White House has met with many groups representing ethnic communities, business, labor, etc. over the last few months to solicit additional input on what actions should be taken. 


Earlier in August, several representatives of the Irish community (Fr. Brendan McBride, Celine Kennelly, Dan Dennehy, BIlly Lawless, Bruce Morrison, and Geri Garvey) met with Felicia Escobar and other White House staff to inform them of what types of administrative relief would help the undocumented Irish community.  


There have been no leaks as to what will happen or when.  Many Democrats, especially Congressman Luis Gutierrez, think the President will "go big" with his action.  The potential for broader executive action has resulted in strong criticism from Republicans in Congress already vehemently opposed to legislation that would increase immigration.  


If President Obama does grant administrative relief to millions of undocumented, it is almost certain that there will not be any action on immigration reform in Congress this year - or possibly the next few years.  Any administrative relief by this President is only a stop-gap measure; we will still need legislation on immigration reform to be passed by Congress to make permanent fixes to the system.


We may know the answer to "Will President Obama Act Alone on Immigration? in the next few weeks.

A Message from Pope Francis



The President's Discretion, Immigration Enforcement, and the Rule of Law

There has been much debate in the press of whether the President has the authority to make a significant number of unauthorized migrants eligible for temporary relief from deportation that would be similar to the relief available under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The author of Immigration Outside the Law provides justification for Obama's taking action.


The reasons include three main points:

  1. The President is only considering temporary reprieves. He would not be unilaterally changing the rules for granting permanent residence or citizenship. Decisions about whether and when to grant temporary reprieves are part of the prosecutorial discretion that the President must exercise as the executive branch official ultimately in charge of enforcing immigration law.
  2. The U.S. immigration system is one of selective admissions that has historically not met the U.S. economy's needs for an adequate labor force. Unauthorized migrants are a significant share of the workers who are essential to the economy. Congress funds enforcement capacity at a fraction of what would be needed to reduce the unauthorized population significantly. As a consequence, immigration enforcement is necessarily selective. In effect, Congress has created and funded a system that relies heavily on prosecutorial discretion, especially on enforcement priorities and a system for applying them.
  3. The President, in order to respect the rule of law in exercising prosecutorial discretion, must make sure that discretionary decisions to apply enforcement priorities are uniform, predictable, and nondiscriminatory. One permissible approach is to adopt prosecutorial discretion guidelines, as the Obama administration did in 2011. The DACA program reflected a decision-fully within the President's legal authority-to go beyond mere guidelines to adopt a formal process for ensuring that the priorities were carried out consistently, predictably, and without discrimination. Likewise, the President has the legal authority to extend temporary administrative relief to a wider circle of noncitizens, as long as he is exercising his discretion to administer enforcement priorities.
For more details on this legal analysis, see the entire article  here.

The analysis set out in the article appear in much fuller form, and in broader context, in Chapters One and Chapter Six of 
Immigration Outside the Law (Oxford University Press July 2014).


Unauthorized Immigrants Today:  A Demographic Profile

The American Immigration Council has recently compiled a report on the demographic profile of the unauthorized population in the United States. 


Data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other sources provide some much-needed social context to the immigration debate. 


The data reveal that three-fifths of unauthorized immigrants have been here for over a decade. One out of every 20 U.S. workers is an unauthorized immigrant. 

While unauthorized immigrants are concentrated in California, Texas, Florida, and New York, there are sizeable populations of unauthorized immigrants in other states across the country. 

Three-fifths of unauthorized immigrants come from Mexico, but significant numbers also come from Central America and the Philippines. 

Nearly half of all adult unauthorized immigrants have children under the age of 18 and roughly 4.5 million native-born U.S.-citizen children have at least one parent who is an unauthorized immigrant. 



More than half of unauthorized immigrant adults have a high-school diploma or more education

Nearly half of longtime unauthorized households are homeowners. 

And approximately two-fifths of unauthorized immigrant adults attend religious services every week. 

In other words, most unauthorized immigrants are already integrating into U.S. society not only through their jobs, but through their families and communities as well.


To read the entire report, go to the Immigration Policy Center website.



Recent Developments on Immigration 
in the States


On August 6, 2014, New York enacted the 
to protect individuals against immigration fraud and punish perpetrators. The law ensures that only attorneys and representatives accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) can provide immigration legal services, strengthens translation requirements, increases civil penalties for immigration fraud violations, and creates two new immigration assistance fraud crimes - a felony and a misdemeanor. 



Colorado was one of eight states that passed laws last year permitting undocumented residents to apply for driving privileges. Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, and Vermont have already begun granting licenses. California and Connecticut will start in January 2015. The implementation of Oregon's driver's license law is on hold pending the outcome of a voter referendum in November.



On August 20, 2014, the Boston City Council unanimously passed an ordinance limiting the instances in which police will detain immigrants for possible deportation. The Boston TRUST Act prohibits law enforcement from holding someone pursuant to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer unless the individual in custody has been convicted of a violent crime; has been convicted of a felony in the past ten years; is a registered sex offender; is on the federal terrorist watch list; or is the subject of a criminal warrant. 

(Information provided by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.)  https://cliniclegal.org/


Join the Justice for Immigrants Campaign

The Justice for Immigrants Campaign continues to build its grassroots support for comprehensive immigration reform.  
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The Irish Apostolate USA is the umbrella organization for the Irish Immigration Pastoral and Outreach Centers in the United States, under the direction of the Irish Episcopal Council for Emigrants. 

Please visit our website for more information: 
Geri Garvey, Administrator
Irish Apostolate USA
Phone/Fax:  301-384-3375     Email: administrator@usairish.org