Welcoming the Stranger
February, 2017: The Rochester community came together in an Interfaith Prayer Service to express concern and support for immigrants and refugees as our nation struggles over security fears. Follow this link to a prayer that was offered in a call for action: We Cannot Merely Pray
Human Trafficking — An overlooked concern
February 8 is the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita and an International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking.
Trafficking continues to exist for the same reason we once had legalized slavery: Many people benefit economically from using people as commodities and people of conscience fail to pay attention and speak out. What better way to atone for and commemorate the suffering of all people who have endured slavery, than to pray and participate in advocacy?
Learn more at USCCB Anti-trafficking program
Prayer to End Trafficking
Loving Father, we seek your divine protection for all who are exploited and enslaved; for those forced into labor, trafficked into sexual slavery, and denied freedom.
We beseech you to release them from their chains. Grant them protection, safety and empowerment. Restore their dignity and provide to them a new beginning.
Show us how we might end exploitation by addressing its causes. Help us reach out in support of victims and survivors of human trafficking. Make us instruments of your spirit for their liberation.
For this we pray through our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen
The Social Ministry Committee has been studying immigration in light of Catholic social teaching. Here, we post questions and answers from “The Basics: Answering the Toughest Questions on Immigration Reform” and myths and facts from the US Chamber of Commerce.
Q: What part of illegal don’t you understand?
Some people can’t get past the fact that persons living unlawfully in the United States are here without authorization. They broke the law, and the assumption is that only by being deported will things be made fair again. At the same time, most people acknowledge that the country could not afford to deport 11 million people, given not only the costs of enforcement of a mass deportation scheme, but also the costs to the economy and our communities if millions of workers were deported and families were separated. Proposals for legalization attempt to balance past violations of law with the economic and social realities of the day. If we truly want to fix our broken immigration system, we have to impose reasonable penalties that don’t undermine the country as a whole.
A: Eliminating birthright citizenship would mean tampering with the Fourteenth Amendment, which was passed after the Civil War to ensure that anyone born in the United States was a U.S. citizen, without regard to race or ethnicity. Attempting to pass a law that changed the rules of the game for children of unauthorized immigrants would be unconstitutional, impractical, expensive, and complicated. And it would do nothing to stop unauthorized immigration. It would impose a significant burden on all Americans who would no longer have an easy and inexpensive way to prove their citizenship. All American parents—not just immigrants—would have to prove the citizenship of their children through a cumbersome process. Since children born to unauthorized immigrants would presumably be unauthorized, the size of the unauthorized population would actually increase as a result of the new policy.
FACT: Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for federal public benefit programs, and even legal immigrants face stringent eligibility restrictions.
Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for federal public benefits such as Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, Medicare, and food stamps. Even most legal immigrants cannot receive these benefits until they have been in the United States for five years or longer, regardless of how much they have worked or paid in taxes. Given these restrictions, it is not surprising that U.S. citizens are more likely to receive public benefits than are noncitizens.
For more information about social ministry, or about the Social Ministry Committee, call the Cluster office and leave a message for the committee chairperson, Mary Lisa Sisson. Call: 473-9656