The Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative examines whether Catholic institutions have maintained their special connection to immigrant communities in the United States and how they can increase and improve their work on immigrant integration, well-being and empowerment. The initiative studies the work of Catholic and other faith-based institutions with immigrants. It also documents and disseminates promising integration programs and practices in parishes, elementary schools, universities, the workplace, immigrant service networks, charities, hospitals, and other institutions and sectors. Its overall goal is to support and expand a growing network of Catholic institutions that are implementing successful integration models within and across sectors.
Virtually all of the Catholic Church’s signature institutions—its parishes, schools, universities, hospitals, charities, fraternal and sororal groups, labor centers and others—arose in response to the needs of past waves of immigrants and their progeny. While the Catholic Church’s work with immigrants remains robust, its US institutions have not fully pivoted to meet the needs and incorporate the gifts of the nation’s record number of immigrants and their children. Put differently, immigrant integration in the Catholic sense—of promoting communion between natives and newcomers, development of “each” person and the “whole” person, and building a better society through the evangelization of culture—has not yet become a unifying institutional priority.
Catholic agencies can play a vital role in fostering civic participation, improving educational outcomes and promoting the socio-economic attainment of immigrants and their families. On the other hand, Catholic institutions can be and, in fact, are being renewed and revitalized by the gifts, contributions and leadership of immigrants, particularly youth. This process should expand and accelerate.
The Catholic Immigrant Integration Project is guided by a national advisory council comprised of more than 30 representatives from national and local service-delivery networks; universities and school systems; pastoral, parish-based and ethnic ministries; and immigrant community groups. This work has received a substantial boost from Pope Francis’ vision, teaching and frequent statements on immigrants and integration at https://cmsny.org/wp-content/uploads/JFI-Kerwin-11.17.15.pdf.
Jeanne M. Atkinson
Former Executive Director
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC)
Msgr. Arturo Bañuelas
St. Mark Catholic Church in El Paso, TX
Executive Director, Migration and Refugee Services
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
Rev. Sean Carroll, S.J.
Kino Border Initiative
Dr. Arturo Chavez
President and CEO
Mexican American Catholic College
Hope Border Institute
Kathleen A. Curran
Senior Director of Public Policy
Catholic Health Association of the United States
Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio
Bishop of Brooklyn, NY
Sr. Sally Duffy
Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC)
Dr. Mary Gautier
Senior Research Associate
Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA)
Dr. Brett Hoover
Assistant Professor of Theology
Loyola Marymount University
Associate Professor and Graduate Director of Theological Studies
Center for Migration Studies
Fr. J. Cletus Kiley
Archdiocese of Chicago, IL
Sharon Granados Mahato
Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN)
Estela Villagrán Manancero
Director of Latino Ministry
Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis
María del Mar Muñoz-Visoso
Executive Director, Secretariat for Cultural Diversity in the Church
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
Fr. Patrick Murphy
Centro Scalabrini – Casa del Migrante Tijuana
Dr. Hosffman Ospino
Assistant Professor of Hispanic Ministry and Religious Education
Marjean A. Perhot
Director, Refugee and Immigration Services
Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Boston, MA
Director, Office for Immigrant Affairs and Immigration Education
Archdiocese of Chicago, IL
Office of Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs
City of Dallas
Integration Program Manager, Center for Citizenship and Immigrant Communities
Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC)
Prof. Roberto Suro
Professor of Journalism at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and the School of Policy, Planning and Development and Director of the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute
University of Southern California
Vice President for Student Affairs
University of San Diego
On July 14, 2021, the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) hosted a webinar and discussion on its report, The CRISIS Survey: The Catholic Church’s Work with Immigrants in the United States in a Period of Crisis.
The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) and the University of Notre Dame hosted the 2020 Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative Conference on Thursday, October 1 and Friday, October 2, 2020. This annual event is part of CMS’s Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative (CIII) which seeks to understand, expand and strengthen the work of Catholic institutions with immigrant communities.
This webinar by Donald Kerwin, Executive Director for the Center for Migration Studies (CMS), will be devoted to a discussion of Catholic teaching on migrants, refugees, and newcomers. Mr. Kerwin will discuss the Biblical touchstones of Catholic teaching on migrant and refugees, key principals that guide the Church’s analysis of this timeless issue, recent developments in US immigration policy and refugee protection, and how the Catholic community views and can respond to them. The presentation will draw on CMS’s scholarship and research.
Fr. Pat Murphy, c.s. reflects on a violent incident by police against migrants and the necessity of an active presence of the local Church to defend the rights of the immigrants.
The CRISIS Survey documents the reach, diversity, and productivity of Catholic institutions that work with immigrants and refugees during a pandemic that has particularly devastated their communities and an administration whose policies and rhetoric made their work far more difficult. At a time of rampant “Catholic decline” narratives, the survey also documents the reach, vitality, and relevance of Catholic immigrant-serving institutions. It identifies the obstacles encountered by immigrants in accessing Catholic programs and ministries – both organizational (funding, staffing, and siting) and exogenous (federal policies, the pandemic, and community opposition). It underscores the threat posed by US immigration policies to immigrants and to the work of Catholic institutions....
The 2020 Father Lydio F. Tomasi, C.S. Annual Lecture on International Migration was delivered by His Eminence Cardinal Michael F. Czerny, SJ, Under-Secretary for the Migrants & Refugees Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Human Development....
This is a working paper and draft chapter for the forthcoming book, Christianity and the Law of Migration, eds. Silas W. Allard, Kristin E. Heyer, and Raj Nadella (London: Routledge, 2021).
Will the nation’s historic genius at integrating immigrants persist? With a record 44 million foreign-born U.S. residents and nearly double that number counting their US-born children, the stakes could not be higher. This chapter will explore the integration successes and challenges of U.S. immigrants and their progeny. It examines the conditions in receiving societies that improve and diminish the integration prospects of immigrants. These include, on the one hand, rising nationalism, nativism, and a rapidly changing labor market due to automation, robotization, and artificial intelligence, and, on the other hand, integration initiatives and strong mediating institutions. The chapter will begin by exploring different conceptions of integration, and conclude by reflecting on how Christianity might inform national and local integration policies. While this chapter focuses on the U.S. context, the issues discussed are pertinent in a wide variety of countries experiencing significant immigration....
This paper provides estimates on beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) by Roman Catholic archdiocese and diocese (“arch/diocese”) in order to assist Catholic institutions, legal service providers, pastoral workers and others in their work with DACA recipients. In addition, the paper summarizes past estimates by the Center for Migration Studies about DACA recipients, which highlight their ties and contributions to the United States. It also offers resources for Catholic institutions, educators, and professionals that serve this group.
This paper analyzes the impact of the Trump administration immigration policies on Catholic organizations, presenting the results of CMS’s Federal Enforcement Effect Research (FEER) Survey. It finds that US policies in the Trump era have significantly increased immigrant demand for the services provided by Catholic institutions and, in general, that these institutions have expanded their services in response. However, 59 percent of respondents – the highest total for this question – identified “fear of apprehension or deportation” as “negatively” impacting immigrants’ access to their services. In addition, 57 percent reported that immigration enforcement has “very negatively” or “somewhat negatively” affected the participation of immigrants in their programs or ministries. The FEER Survey illustrates the need for broad immigration reform. It shows that the status quo prevents immigrants from accessing the services they need and it impedes people of faith from effectively exercising their religious convictions on human dignity, protection, and service to the poor and vulnerable....
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2, NRSV). As these words from Sacred Scripture indicate, the Judeo-Christian tradition commands the believer to provide a sympathetic welcome to foreigners. Yet, the passage reveals that the giver of......
On March 12 and 13, 2019, 181 representatives of Catholic immigrant-serving organizations from around the country convened at Santa Clara University School of Law to take part in the Center for Migration Studies’s (CMS’s) annual Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative Conference. The conference highlighted the tireless and groundbreaking work that Catholic......
On March 12, 2019, Most Reverend Oscar Cantú, Bishop of San Jose, delivered the welcoming keynote at the 2019 Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative Conference at Santa Clara Law School in Santa Clara, California. In his remarks, Bishop Cantú considers how the Church has and can deploy its limited resources and implement successful models of integration to better address immigration and better welcome immigrants....
The 2019 Father Lydio F. Tomasi, c.s. Annual Lecture on International Migration was delivered by Msgr. Arturo J. Bañuelas, Pastor of St. Mark’s Parish in El Paso, TX on March 12, 2019 at the sixth national gathering of the Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative in Santa Clara, California....
On March 13, 2019, Most Rev. Salvatore J. Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco, delivered a keynote address at the 2019 Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative Conference at Santa Clara Law School in Santa Clara, California. In his remarks, Archbishop Cordileone discusses: the Catholic Church’s concern for men, women, and children “on the move”; common themes found throughout the Church’s pastoral vision and the conference goals; immigrant contributions; how changing US immigration and refugee polices are affecting Catholic institutions and integration efforts; and promising and successful programs and ministries with immigrants....
In 1828, an immigrant to America, young Italian Samuel Mazzuchelli, braved the challenges of the US frontier. He became a Dominican priest and traveled widely throughout the Midwest, ministering first to Native Americans and fur trappers, then to the Irish lead miners of the Upper Mississippi Valley. In 1847, he......
In this report, CMS details findings from two surveys distributed to two broad sets of US Catholic institutions – (1) Catholic social and charitable agencies and (2) parishes and schools – to capture their work in helping integrate immigrants in the United States. ...
Donald Kerwin, CMS’s Executive Director, provides an overview of the VI International Forum on Migration and Peace, organized by the Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN) in late February 2017 in Rome, Italy....
Donald Kerwin, CMS's Executive Director, presented this address at the Seminar on Migration and Religion at Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands held on February 9 and 10, 2017....
The Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, addressed the SIMN VI International Forum on Migration and Peace in Rome, Italy from February 20-22, 2017. Bishop DiMarzio spoke national engagement on the panel, “Mapping the Migration Activities of Catholic Organizations.”...
Donald Kerwin, CMS' Executive Director, reflects on the 2016 Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative Conference and the Catholic Church's commitment to migrants and refugees as President Trump takes offices....
Stephanie L. Canizales, a PhD Candidate at the University of Southern California, examines the role of religion and religious institutions in the adaptation of unaccompanied Central American youth in Los Angeles....
US Catholic Institutions and Immigrant Integration: Will The Church Rise To The Challenge? arises from a multi-year process led by the Center for Migration Studies (CMS) and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), to engage the leaders of diverse US Catholic agencies, academics and others on immigrant integration as......
At the 2020 Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative Conference hosted by the Center for Migration Studies and the University of Notre Dame, four students from Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs presented findings from their migration-related research projects.
Dominican University, a private Catholic university located in River Forest, Illinois, has been operating since 1901 with an eye toward educating poor and marginalized students, including immigrant students, in the Midwest. Founded by the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters in Wisconsin and later moved to Illinois, the school has an enrollment of about 3,000 students—a small college—but its influence reaches far beyond its campus 10 miles west of downtown Chicago.
Partnership Schools, a network of nine Catholic elementary schools in New York, New York, and Cleveland, Ohio, is giving immigrant youth from the inner city a chance to learn and thrive in a faith-based and safe environment.
Guadalupan Multicultural Services of the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama, otherwise known as “La Casita,” has provided a range of services to immigrants in northern Alabama for years.
Two Scalabrini priests located at opposite ends of North America have worked to support vulnerable groups during the COVID pandemic.
This episode of CMSOnAir features four students at the University of Notre Dame who are doing research about international migration. Syeda (Fiana) Arbab, Sofia Piecuch, and Kara Venzian are graduate students pursuing their Masters in Global Affairs at Notre Dame’s Keough School. They partnered with Catholic Relief Services on a research project about how internally displaced persons and refugees describe and create home. Elsa Barron examined migrant integration, dialogue, and religious acceptance using the first mosque in Athens, Greece as a case study. An undergraduate student, Elsa conducted her research with support from the Nanovic Institute for European Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Here’s Elsa, Fiana, Sofia, and Kara describing the findings of their research at the Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative Conference.
Partnership Schools, a network of nine elementary and middle schools in urban areas of New York and Cleveland, is trying to stem the tide of Catholic school closings. Their network is taking a unique approach to funding, relying heavily on philanthropic support and keeping costs down, while maintaining high-quality education.
CMS and the University of Notre Dame welcomed participants to the 2020 Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative Conference.
Panelists presented their perspectives on the major challenges facing immigrants, refugees, and their families, both in the broader society and in their faith communities, including new challenges related to COVID-19 and related policies.
Migrants, refugees, their families, and communities face multiple crises – historically high levels of forcible displacement, the inequalities and injustices exacerbated by the pandemic, the loss of life and opportunity, and exclusionary attitudes and policies. This panel spoke to these conditions and challenges and offered ideas and insights on how the Church can respond to the gifts and needs of migrants in a more prophetic, faithful, and hopeful way.
Roderic O’Gorman, Minister for Children, Disability, Equality, and Integration, describes Ireland’s efforts to build communities of belonging.
Panelists discuss ways that Catholic parishes, hospitals, refugee and legal services programs, charities, and other institutions and ministries can rise to the immense challenges now facing immigrants, refugees, and their families and communities.
At a time of harsh and restrictionist federal policies, many states and localities have opted to treat immigrants and their families as full members of their communities, extending to them a range of services, programs, and benefits.
Panelists explored how Catholic institutions can strengthen their work in promoting the integration, protection, and defense of persons with strong roots in sending and receiving communities.
This panel discussed ways to build parish communities of belonging, hope, and sanctuary, and to mainstream Catholic teaching on immigrants and refugees to the broader Catholic Church.
The final panel of the conference reflected on the interrelated themes of migration, protection, and race in the context of Pope Francis’ call to Catholics to go to the peripheries.
Session I: Community Sponsorship Models for Immigrant Integration in Europe and North America: Challenges and Opportunities
Session II: Working Through Cultural Obstacles to Immigrant Integration and Empowerment: Understanding Differences in Attitudes Toward Migrants in North America and Europe
Session III: Addressing the Legal Obstacles to Immigrant Integration, Protection and Defense
Session IV: Bringing Research to Bear on the Needs of Catholic Institutions, and the Migrant Populations They Serve
Session V: Reflections on the Role of Catholic Colleges and Universities On Immigrant Integration and the Challenges They Face in their Service to Immigrants
Conference Adjournment & Moderated Discussion With Conference Participants: Ideas for Strengthening the Catholic Church’s Work With Immigrants and Closing Reflections
The mission of the Scalabrinian order is to accompany people on the move. In the COVID-19 era, it is harder than ever to live out that mission.
La Casita has shifted many of its regular services to remote platforms and sent food boxes to community members. Sr. Gabriela has also been instrumental in making COVID-19 testing available to immigrants at local parishes.
Established in 2014, the Fr. Lydio F. Tomasi, C.S. Annual Lecture on International Migration addresses a migration-related topic of pressing concern to faith communities. Fr. Tomasi, a founding member of the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS), directed the institute from 1968 to 2001. Co-sponsored with the University of Notre Dame, the 2020 Fr. Lydio F. Tomasi, C.S. Annual Lecture on International Migration was delivered by His Eminence Cardinal Michael F. Czerny, SJ, Under-Secretary for the Migrants & Refugees Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Human Development.
This episode of CMSOnAir features an interview with Anna Gallagher, the executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc. (CLINIC). She explains how CLINIC supports lawyers across the country as they adapt to the fast-paced policy changes of the current administration. She also discusses her concerns about access to asylum on the US-Mexico border and CLINIC’s Estamos Unidos Asylum Project in Ciudad Juarez — a response to the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) or “Remain in Mexico” program.
This episode of CMSOnAir features an interview with Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso Texas. CMS’s communications coordinator Emma Winters asks Bishop Seitz about his recent pastoral letter, “Night Will Be No More.” The letter, a direct response to the August 3  Walmart massacre, condemns racism and white supremacy, examines the legacy of hate in the borderlands, and says to all: “Tú vales, you count.” Bishop Seitz also discusses the 2019 Border Mass, the El Paso Diocese fund to aid asylum seekers stuck in Ciudad Juarez, and why families should be at the heart of our immigration system.
Established in 2014, the Fr. Lydio F. Tomasi, C.S. Annual Lecture on International Migration addresses a migration-related topic of pressing concern to faith communities. Co-sponsored with the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University, the 2019 Tomasi Lecture was delivered by Msgr. Arturo J. Bañuelas, S.T.D., Pastor of St. Mark’s Parish in El Paso, Texas at the fifth national gathering of the Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative in Santa Clara, California.
For 2017, the Fr. Lydio F. Tomasi, CS Annual Lecture on International Migration and the Loyola Marymount University Hispanic Ministry and Theology Lecture jointly presented Dr. Maria Clara Bingemer, Professor of Theology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC) and Brazilian Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Democracy and Human Development in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame.