CMS MIGRATION UPDATE | Special Edition on Holy Father’s Visit to the United States

CMS MIGRATION UPDATE | Special Edition on Holy Father’s Visit to the United States

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CMS Migration Update is a weekly digest of news and other information related to national and international migration. It is designed to educate faith leaders regarding vulnerable immigrant populations, developments in the immigration field, pastoral resources and the religious touchstones of diverse faith traditions on migrants and newcomers. It should not be relied upon to provide advice or counsel in immigration cases. The publication is provided by the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS), an educational institute/think-tank devoted to the study of international migration, to the promotion of understanding between immigrants and receiving communities and to public policies that safeguard the dignity and rights of migrants, refugees and newcomers. CMS is a member of the Scalabrini International Migration Network, an international network of shelters, welcoming centers, and other ministries for migrants.

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Thomas J. Shea Editor

Rachel Reyes  Communications Coordinator 

Special Edition on Holy Father’s Visit to the United States

September 8, 2015

Reflections from the Border: “Blowing Off the Lid on Immigration”

Fr. Pat Murphy, C.S. (Posted September 8, 2015)

Fr. Pat Murphy, Director of the Centro Scalabrini – Casa del Migrante in Tijuana, offers a new reflection in response to the anti-immigrant platforms being advanced by several US presidential candidates, particularly Donald Trump who has called for increased deportation of immigrants and the repeal of birthright citizenship. According to Fr. Murphy, Pope Francis’s first visit to the United States provides a golden opportunity for the Church to unite around the care of immigrants and immigrant families and to follow the Holy Father’s lead in welcoming and publicly supporting policies that protect them. Fr. Murphy writes that, in this Year of Mercy as declared by Pope Francis, Catholics should receive migrants with compassion and embrace immigration as a pro-life issue.

To read more, visit

Sanity, Indifference and the American Immigration Debate

Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. (September 1, 2015)

On September 1st, the Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia, provided the keynote for “At Home Together: The Church and the Immigrant Family,” an event co-sponsored by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, World Meeting of Families, the Center for Migration Studies, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Migration and Refugee Services / US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Villanova University. The event, which was held in advance of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States for the World Meeting of Families, focused on the Catholic Church’s work to assist immigrant families and keep them together. During his speech, Archbishop Chaput addressed the recent anti-immigrant political rhetoric espoused by several presidential candidates and reminded the audience of the detrimental impact of US immigration policy on families. Archbishop Chaput stressed that “family reunification must remain a cornerstone of our immigration system” and called for the preservation of birthright citizenship, the end of family detention and for the reform of the US immigration system. He also urged the global community to find a way to address root causes of migration.

To read more, visit

Archbishop Assails Trump Over Birthright Citizenship Appeal

Associated Press (September 2, 2015)

Reporting on the “At Home Together: The Church and the Immigrant Family” event, the Associated Press (AP) details Archbishop Chaput’s opposition to Donald Trump’s call to end birthright citizenship. “Birthright citizenship” refers to the Constitutional right to citizenship for persons born on US soil. In addition, the AP article reports on Chaput’s insistence that the United States stop detaining young mothers and children, saying “These families pose no threat to anyone. Detaining them is inhumane.”

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What is it Like Providing Pastoral Care to Immigrants and Their Families?

Sr. Linda Lukiewski, SSJ (September 1, 2015)

Sr. Linda Lukiewski, pastoral minister for Holy Innocents Parish / St. Joan of Arc Community in Philadelphia, presented at the “At Home Together: The Church and the Immigrant Family” event. After pointing out that the Church is often the first place that Catholic immigrants seek out when they arrive, Sr. Lukiewski addressed the challenges facing newly arrived immigrants and those ministering to them and their families. Through her work, Sr. Linda has observed that immigrants experience difficulty in fitting into the mainstream Catholic Church and that parishioners often do not make immigrants feel welcome. Sr. Lukiewski offers several examples of Catholic programs that have significantly assisted in the integration of immigrants, including youth programs, pastoral visitation, retreats, family catechetical programs (Pastoral Familial) and accompaniment of families after baptism.

To read more, visit

Welcome Pope Francis Toolkit

In advance of Pope Francis’ first visit to the United States from September 22 to 27, a number of faith-based organizations are encouraging religious leaders, social justice advocates, and other members of the public to host related events across the country. These organizations hope that the events will draw attention to Pope Francis’ messages on economic dignity, comprehensive immigration reform, mass incarceration, extreme poverty and inequality. The toolkit includes a prayer card; quotes from Pope Francis; tips on hosting a “Welcome Pope Francis Meeting”; invite tracker and sample event agenda. The organizations are also offering a series of webinars on event planning and media training.

To learn more, visit

Pope Francis and Migrants: Honoring Human Dignity, Building Solidarity and Creating a Culture of Encounter

Center for Migration Studies (Posted August 24, 2015)

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the United States from September 22 to 27. Among other events on his agenda, the Holy Father will participate at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, address the US Congress, celebrate mass in Washington, DC, speak before the United Nations General Assembly and meet with groups of immigrants. Since being chosen by the papal conclave on March 13, 2013, Pope Francis’s papacy has been marked by solicitude for the poor and respect for the sanctity of life. These themes have naturally led the Holy Father to speak of the experiences of migrants, refugees,and newcomers and to decry the perilous, degrading and intolerable conditions which many must endure. In anticipation of Pope Francis’s visit to the United States, this essay elaborates on the Holy Father’s statements and teaching on migrants, refugees and newcomers.

To read more, visit

What Pope Francis Has Said on Migrants, Refugees and Immigrants, and What He Might Say in the United States

Huffington Post (September 4, 2015)

Pope Francis is expected to address the issue of immigration during his September 26 visit to Independence Mall in Philadelphia. While he will likely not discuss immigration with a high level of specificity, the struggles, gifts and hopes of migrants, refugees and immigrants have been a heart-felt concern and defining priority for the Holy Father and his papacy. In this article, CMS Executive Director Donald Kerwin considers how the Pope might address these issues, suggesting a focus on solidarity, state responsibility, cultural unity, mercy and human dignity.

To read more, visit http://Washingtonian/donald-kerwin/what-pope-francis-has-sai_b_8090332.html.

Pope Francis Participated in a Virtual Audience with Americans from Across the Country

ABC News (September 4, 2015)

During an event exclusively hosted by the Vatican with ABC News, Pope Francis spoke via video conferencing with Americans from Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, California and McAllen, Texas. In greeting and thanking several people in each of the audiences, the Pope acknowledged some immigrant participants including a young undocumented man from Mexico, and a mother, her child and a young girl, all of whom had fled El Salvador. He then singled out Sr. Norma Pimentel, Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, who had spearheaded efforts to turn the parish hall of Sacred Heart Church — the setting for the McAllen audience — into a welcome center for 20,000-plus migrants from Latin America. Pope Francis thanked Sr. Norma and, through her, all the sisters of religious orders in the United States for their work in providing much-needed humanitarian assistance; concluding his remarks to her by saying, “Is it inappropriate for the Pope to say this? I love you all very much.“

To read more, visit

To watch Pope Francis’ greeting to Sr. Norma, visit


Catholic Institutions Integrate Services in Large-Scale Response to the Needs of Immigrant Children

Center for Migration Studies (September 3, 2015)

Since the beginning of the Spring of 2014, almost 94,000 unaccompanied children have arrived in the United States. While some US communities have opposed their entry, faith communities have warmly welcomed them. The Catholic Church has responded to their needs in a variety of ways. For example, with support from the federal and local governments, Catholic Charities and individual parishes have met the immediate needs of thousands of children at the border. Other Catholic institutions have provided legal and social support for the children and their caretakers. Catholic parishioners have also come together to support the children through donations, volunteer work and foster care. In this paper, Kyle Barron of the Center for Migration Studies describes the work of Catholic institutions in welcoming, assisting and helping to integrate these children.

To read more, visit