Let us join together with Pope Francis in praying for all Immigrants and refugees, and the countries who welcome them.
Learn more about the Refugee and Immigration Crisis effecting our world today. The first video is from 2015, but the second is more recent. Also check out the stories on the Humans of New York Refugee series HERE.
The Catholic Church teaches that a government has two duties in regards to immigration. The first duty is to welcome the foreigner out of charity and respect for the human person. The second duty is to secure one’s border and enforce the law for the sake of the common good. Here is where the tension lies. Human dignity gives people the right to immigrate and civil authority gives governments the right to enforce laws.
The best way to immigrate into a country is legally, but people enter illegally because legal immigration is exorbitantly costly and complicated, which is why many are calling for immigration reform. No matter the immigration status of a person, legal or illegal, we are called to treat immigrants with respect and dignity. Immigrants are in unfamiliar territory. They most likely feel alone and on the outside. They probably feel misunderstood and unwanted because they are different. We must take the first step in hospitality; speaking with them, asking about where they came from and how they are handling the transition, and offering to show them around.We must remember that we were once foreigners ourselves. Our families at one point or another immigrated to the Unites States and our family of faith has a long history of being foreigners.
God’s people escaped the regime of Pharaoh and wandered with no homeland for forty years. The Holy Family escaped Herod and lived as foreigners in Egypt. Jesus Himself teaches us to love and care for the foreigner. Saint Paul proclaims that though we are of different nationalities, all are one in Jesus.
Now that we understand the problem, what can we do to work towards a solution? Here are some ideas adapted from the USCCB: • Actively Pray - Follow Twitter and other social media accounts that cover current events and pray for specific situations as you get notifications. • Write - A letter to your elected officials, urging them to expand U.S. resettlement efforts of refugees who are fleeing unspeakable atrocities and violence. • Urge - Your members of Congress to provide urgently needed development aid for refugee host countries near conflict areas that have heroically borne the brunt of the refugee crisis. • Donate - To the USCCB/Migration and Refugee Services Parishes Organized to Welcome Refugees (POWR) program, which provides parish and community volunteers an opportunity to help sponsor newly-arriving refugees and provide for their critical needs. • Contact - Your local Catholic Charities agency to find out if it has a resettlement program and, if so, how you can assist them in their effort to resettle refugees and help them build new lives of hope here in the United States. Contact our local agency HERE!
How do you feel called to respond to the refugee crisis this Christmas season?