IAUSA Irish Apostolate

Update on the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform  

Issue: # 118
 September 2015

In This Issue
Pope Francis' Address to Congress
MRS 50th Anniversary Celebration
Fifty Years Later, Immigration Bill that Changed Ameria
Citizenship Awareness Campaig
USCCB/JFI Immigration Convening
Quick Links 
Current Articles 


As Catholics our Compassion must trump Discrimination

Catholic Key

Pope delivers political message on Immigration, Tolerance to Congress

Most Americans differ with Trump on Immigration, Poll shows

Other Links 


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Pope Francis' Address to Congress
September 24, 2015
In his historic address to Congress, Pope Francis offered a profoundly spiritual, inspirational, and enlightening talk addressing the problems of our time and how they should be addressed.  

Here are some excerpts from his remarks:

My visit takes place at a time when men and women of good will are marking the anniversaries of several great Americans. The complexities of history and the reality of human weakness notwithstanding, these men and women, for all their many differences and limitations, were able by hard work and selfsacrifice - some at the cost of their lives - to build a better future. They shaped fundamental values which will endure forever in the spirit of the American people.  I would like to mention four of these Americans: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy  Day and Thomas Merton.
In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants. ... We must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our "neighbors" and everything around us. Building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best. 

Let us remember the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" (Mt 7:12).  This Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.  
The  Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its

A nation can be considered great when it defends liberty as Lincoln did, when it fosters a culture which enables people to "dream" of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as Martin Luther King sought to do; when it strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed, as Dorothy Day did by her tireless work, the fruit of a faith which becomes dialogue and sows peace in the contemplative style of Thomas

Migration and Refugee Services
50th Anniversary Celebration
November 19, 2015

9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Golden Anniversary Mass
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Special Honoree:  Sr. Norma Pimentel, MJ, Director of the Humanitarian Crisis Relief Center,
Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, TX

Renaissance Washington Downtown Hotel
999 9th Street, NW
Washington, DC

To purchase a ticket to the symposium and/or celebration, go to:

Fifty Years Later, the Immigration Bill That Changed America

The Western Hemisphere cap was one key concession that opponents of Johnson's immigration reform were able to extract. The other significant change was that visas be prioritized for migrants with family ties in the United States. Johnson and the bill's supporters backed a system that would have put a priority on skill, which ended up being secondary in the new law.

When Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act at the foot of the Statue of Liberty 50 years ago this October, he declared that the new law undoing the old quota system was "not a revolutionary bill. It does not affect the lives of millions."  
In fact, it did.

The new system, which opened up American immigration to the world, has dramatically shifted the blend of people coming to the country while contributing to the surge in immigrants from Mexico and Latin America entering the U.S. without documentation-neither of which its authors ever intended.

There were "a whole series of consequences unleashed" by this new law, says UCLA Law professor Hiroshi Motomura, author of Americans in Waiting: The Lost Story of Immigration and Citizenship in the United States.

Though the 1965 law eliminated ceilings on visas for specific ethnicities across Asia and Africa, it did keep a cap in place for the Eastern Hemisphere-encompassing migrants from Europe, Africa and Asia. As a compromise, it also set the cap on immigration from the Western Hemisphere for the first time. That's right: The U.S. used to allow unlimited immigration from Mexico. Even as restrictionists had layered on more and more limits on immigrants, starting with the Chinese in the 1880s, the Japanese around the turn of the century, and the rest of Asia, Africa and much of Europe in the 1920s, the U.S. allowed the open flow of immigration from Canada and nations to the south, part of what was considered a "good neighbor" policy.
To read the entire article, go to Newsweek.
"Stand Stronger" Citizenship Awareness Campaign
Since the beginning of his Administration, President Obama has made clear that we are stronger as a nation when we welcome immigrants and refugees into our communities and harness their entrepreneurial spirit. At its heart, America is and has always been a nation of immigrants. Immigrants and refugees contribute to our country's social and cultural fabric, and are critical to our country's continued economic prosperity.  Today, on Citizenship and Constitution Day, President Obama launched the "Stand Stronger" Citizenship Awareness Campaign, a project with nonprofit Civic Nation, to encourage eligible immigrants to take an important step in their American journey and commit to citizenship.  

According to the most recent estimates, there are approximately 13.3 million LPRs living in the United States, and 8.8 million of them are eligible to apply for citizenship. This includes over 3 million refugees who have resettled here since 1975 from countries that span the globe. Nearly one out of every three eligible individuals obtained LPR status in 1990 or earlier, meaning that many have been part of our communities for decades. But they don't yet enjoy all of the rights, benefits, and responsibilities that come with being a full American citizen.

As part of the campaign, the White House is working to engage immigrant- and refugee- serving organizations around the country that provide in-person assistance and legal services to individuals eligible to naturalize.

To read the details of this campaign, to to the White House FACT SHEET.

 Moving Forward: 

Immigration in 2016 and Beyond

JOIN the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and Justice for Immigrants at the upcoming National Convening:

Wednesday - Friday, November 11-13, 2015 
Four Points Sheraton Hotel at O'Hare Airport 
Chicago, Illinois

Conference begins at 4 pm on November 11 and concludes at noon on February 13.

Conference costs:

 $250/double (shared) room; $350/single room - prices include two nights lodging, all meals, conference materials, reception, shuttle to/from O'Hare.

$150 for local attendees (not needing lodging); $75 for one day attendance  Includes meals, conference materials, reception and free hotel parking.

Register for the conference at http://bit.ly/1LrZ6Vg

Join the Justice for Immigrants Campaign

Justice for Immigrants Campaign continues to build its grassroots support for comprehensive immigration reform.   

If you want to be notified of immigration legislation updates , NOW is the time to join the JFI Action Alert list.  Sign up at: 
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.  

The IAUSA receives financial support from the IECE and also from the DFA Emigrant Support Programme for some of its' activities and outreach.

Please visit our website for more information: 
Geri Garvey, Administrator
Irish Apostolate USA
Phone: 240-535-9205    Email: administrator@usairish.org