|A detained undocumented migrant celebrates Mass for detainees at the Service Processing Center in El Paso, Texas. (Christian Fuchs — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA)|
|• From Lampedusa, Italy to Nogales, Arizona — A Call for Generosity, Compassion, Welcome, Justice
• We Cannot be Indifferent
• In the face of political inaction and human suffering we renew our call for just and humane immigration reform
(Washington, D.C.) April 2, 2014 — Last year Pope Francis visited the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa, off the coast of Sicily. The Holy Father threw a wreath of flowers into the sea in remembrance of the countless migrants and refugees from Africa and the Middle East who have lost their lives, sometimes forcibly turned back in rickety rafts while trying to reach European shores.
On April 1, 2014, Pope Francis' visit to Lampedusa was echoed by a delegation of our own U.S. Catholic Bishops to the desert of Arizona. Areas of our border are also "Lampedusas" where migrant lives are treated as cheap and too often are lost — a reminder of the true cost of inaction in the face of inhumane and uncaring policies.
Cardinal Sean O’Malley and eight U.S. Bishops and Guatemalan Bishop Gerardo Flores spent time with migrants served at the Kino Border Initiative's Care Center for Deported Migrants in Mexico on March 31, 2014 before crossing back over to Nogales, Arizona on April 1, 2014, to hold a Mass of Repentance highlighting, much as Pope Francis did, the globalization of indifference and the urgency of enacting just and humane laws and policies that place compassion and human dignity at their center.
Cardinal O'Malley explained the Bishops' border visit during his bilingual homily, saying, "We come here today to be a neighbor and to find a neighbor in each of the suffering people who risk their lives and at times lose their lives in the desert."
As the mass reached its conclusion our Bishops served communion through the border fence, highlighting that despite manmade barriers and manmade laws we are one human family, united in God's love.
Help us to amplify the voices the U.S. Catholic Bishops, the U.S. Jesuit Provincials, and countless other faith groups in calling for comprehensive, just and humane immigration reform NOW.
Now is the time for Congress and the Administration to address a system that Bishop Wester of Salt Lake City, Utah called "a stain on the soul of our nation."
Our undocumented community members deserve a pathway to citizenship, our border communities shouldn’t be militarized and migrants shouldn't be deported in a manner that endangers their lives. We need to address head-on the policies and practices that have caused family separation and suffering. Our nation needs comprehensive, just, and humane immigration reform.
In 2013, the U.S. Jesuit Provincials sent letters to President Obama, the Senate, and the House of Representatives re-affirming their commitment to comprehensive immigration reform based on the following principles:
• A path to citizenship that ensures that all undocumented immigrants have access to full rights;
• A legal employment structure that protects both migrants and U.S.-born workers;
• Expedited family reunification and an end to policies and practices that exacerbate family separation;
• Due process protections and an accountable and humane enforcement of our immigration laws;
• Economic assistance to and fair competition with developing countries.
We now ask that you join us in this national effort to urge all responsible policy makers to do all in their power to enact immigration reform that meets these basic standards of human dignity.
Please take a minute, using this link to email our appeal to Congress and the Administration today.
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and Humane Immigration Reform