The recent influx of unaccompanied child migrants to the U.S. has gotten the attention of many people around the world. The majority of these children are fleeing violent and unstable conditions in the Central American countries El Salvador, Guatemala, and
Honduras. Parents are forced to make the difficult decision to send their children to the U.S. due to the threat of violence in their home countries. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) recently completed a report to examine what is causing this increase in child migration.
Columban Missionaries are actively engaged in this humanitarian crisis at the Columban Mission Center House in El Paso, TX. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has reached out to many faith groups, including the Columbans, to help feed and house the high volume of migrants that are in need of refuge.
We are called to embrace the stranger and use our compassion to not only aid these children who are in need of relief and shelter, but to heal the wounds of conflict in these countries. Please take action by sending a letter to your representative, urging them to explore how the United States can respond in a humane and just way, in accordance with the teachings of our faith.
Thank you for continuing to stand in solidarity with God’s most vulnerable people.
Director, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Action Alert: End the Bed Quota for ICE Detention Centers
“When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them.”
Acts 2: 1-4
Dear Columban Advocates,
As I reflect on the scripture of Pentacost, I am reminded that we have a moral obligation to ensure the safety and well being of others.
In the coming weeks, Congress will vote on the appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security, which determines the budget for immigration detention facilities for the fiscal year 2015. Representatives Deutch and Foster will be presenting an amendment to eliminate the “bed quota” that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) must fulfill per year as established by Congress.
The mandate obligates ICE to keep 34,000 beds in immigration detention centers full at all times. The population of which include mothers, fathers, children, and many vulnerable groups. These facilities are not only costly for the government to run, but also have a hard time keeping up with the influx of immigrants entering detention. As a result, conditions in ICE detention centers are horrifying and uninhabitable.
In honor of the season of Pentecost, let us lift up our faithful voices to our elected officials in an effort to pass the Deutch-Foster Amendment to end a harmful policy that perpetuates suffering for thousands of immigrants.
Urge them to vote YES on the Deutch-Foster Amendment in an effort to end the bed quota. You can personalize this letter to do so. Thank you for your continued advocacy for immigrants seeking fullness of life.
The Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach is a member of Justice for Immigrants, a Catholic coalition initiated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Action Alert: Support Development, End Debt Bondage in the Philippines
After Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines last November, the world responded with astounding generosity, donating hundreds of millions of dollars to aid in the recovery effort – $51 million from the United States government alone.
Stand in solidarity with the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan by sending a message to the World Bank President to urge him to call for an immediate moratorium on Philippine debt repayments during the rebuilding process.
As people of faith, we are called to release the captives and forgive those debts that keep the poor in perpetual bondage. Catholic social teaching reminds us that “the right to development must be taken into account when considering questions related to the debt crisis of many poor countries.
Unfortunately, since the typhoon struck on November 8th, the Philippines has paid more than $700 million in debt repayments, and will spend a total of $6.7 billion this year alone. Some of those debts originate from the corrupt and abusive regime of Ferdinand Marcos, who was responsible for the deaths of more than 3,000 Filipinos and the torture of 35,000.
Ask the World Bank President to support the right to development and to place an immediate moratorium on the Philippine debt.
Rather than cancel this illegitimate debt, lenders are still collecting repayments on these loans, taking away resources that could be used to rebuild after the typhoon and further protect the Philippines from the repercussions of climate change.
Click here to send a letter to the World Bank President calling for an immediate moratorium on Philippine debt repayments during the rebuilding process after Typhoon Haiyan, as a next step toward debt cancellation.
Action Alert: Journey with Migrants Out of the Shadows, Into the Light
As we begin the Lenten journey today, we remember the many migrants who, like Jesus, traveled through the desert wilderness, sometimes without food and water, risking their lives to escape violence or put food on the plates of their family back home. Like Jesus, the journey through the desert was in preparation for the challenges yet to come.
For Lent reminds us of the brokenness of our immigration policies that keep people in the shadows and separate families. Yet Jesus calls is to build a kingdom that welcomes all God’s people. Ask Congress to support faithful immigration reform that brings our immigrant sisters and brothers out of the shadows.
This Lenten season, we join faith communities across the country to pray, fast, and act for immigration reform. After a powerful witness of praying and fasting together in December on the National Mall, people of faith and immigrants are on the bus, taking their message of hope across the country. You can join them. Ask your Representative to support faithful immigration reform.
As people of faith, we are called to walk with our immigrant sisters and brothers. “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do her wrong. You shall love her as yourself” (Lv. 19:33-34). Columbans live this out daily by accompanying undocumented immigrants throughout the U.S. who live in fear of coming out of the shadows.
Action Alert:Fast Track
Lift up your voice with our first ever e-advocacy alert! For more than twenty years, we have seen the effects of harmful free trade agreements, negotiated in secret, such as increased economic inequality, degradation of God’s Earth, and displacement of farmers while the rights of corporations are expanded.
These free trade agreements are enabled though an undemocratic law that limits participation by members of Congress and the public in the policy debate and legislative process to pass trade agreements. Yet Catholic Sociatl Teaching calls us to community participation to ensure policies that protect the common good. As President and Congress complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership in virtual secrecy with other Heads of State, they are counting on this undemocratic authority to fast track the TPP. Click here
to send a message to your member of Congress to derail “Fast Track” and protect the participation of critical voices to serve the common good.
Action Alert: Ensure Clean Water for God’s Most Vulnerable People
Water is a life sustaining gift from God that all creation depends on for survival. Nearly 780 million people currently live without access to clean water and 2.8 billion live without sanitation infrastructure.
In 2005, Congress enacted the Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act to bring safe drinking water to communities throughout the world. Building on this success, the bipartisan Water for the World Act will strengthen and ensure that U.S. aid is amplified to meet the needs of communities that need water and sanitation the most. Take action here to support water for the world.
Pope Benedict XVI said, “Access to water is one of the inalienable rights of every human being, because it is a prerequisite for the realization of the majority of the other human rights.”
This legislation will help US agencies maximize resources, enhance transparency and accountability, and ensure more communities have access to clean water. Write to
your representative, urging them to support this vitally important legislation.
Through floods and hurricanes from Pakistan to the Philippines, Columbans have helped ensure access to water and sanitation in the most vulnerable communities. Join in solidarity by asking your member of Congress to support Water for the World Act of 2014.
Thank you for your commitment to our brothers and sisters,
Blessings and Peace,
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