Immigration Working Group

CSSJ Immigration Forum 

The CSJ Justice Office in collaboration with the Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) team of the Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph hosted a special event about sisters experiences at the southern U.S. border.  The event shared a deep understanding of the current realities at our southern border and the root causes of immigration.  NETWORK Lobby also challenged us to action.  These advocacy opportunities can be seen on our TAKE ACTION page.    

See a recording of the event on the CSSJ Federation Facebook page or with captions on the CSSJ YouTube Channel . 

CSJ Collaborative Immigration Vigil  

The CSJ community co-hosted a very special ICOM prayer vigil in conjunction with the Angels Unaware Exhibit at the Basilica of St. Mary (Minneapolis) on Tuesday, August 10. Thank you to everyone that participated and for the thousands of advocacy postcards for our elected officials in Washington, D.C. supporting DACA Youth.

View a recording of this prayer vigil at CSJ August ICOM Prayer Vigil. 

 CSJ Sisters’ Border Experiences:  Special online event

Ten (10) Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet from Albany, St. Louis and California went to offer direct volunteer service at our southern U.S. Border during the month of May.  We are so excited, now that many of our sisters are vaccinated, that they couldn’t wait to get out and go to the border to offer their passion, compassion and energy to do direct service at various places.   

The St. Paul Province hosted a special collaborative event with the CSJ Congregation on the evening of June 3rd to hear “Carondelet Sisters’ Border Experiences” as the Sisters shared about their volunteer experiences.  We heard from Sisters Theresa Kvale and Sr. Patrice Coolick, who went to San Diego to help out with catholic Charities, Jewish Family Services and Episcopalian Southern Community Services.   As Sr. Partrice recently shared already in an email, “it has been a whirlwind, frustrating, challenging and satisfying.”

(Above – Sisters Theresa Kvale, Patrice Coolick, and Mary, a missionary sister of Sacred Heart from Philadelphia)    

 In addition, we also heard from other sisters who went to El Paso, Texas to volunteer at Annunciation House.  They have been doing a variety of things to assist including organizing and sorting supplies and clothes for children.  We will also be joined by Heidi Cerneka, a Maryknoll Lay Missioner and Attorney currently working at the border along with another Attorney Jessica Mayo. If you missed this incredible panel event, watch the recording on the St. Paul Province YouTube channel and advocate with us and NETWORK for those seeking asylum

(Above – Sister Sandra Straub and others helping out at the border)

Supporting our dear immigrant neighbors

The CSJ Immigration Working Group has long advocated for Federal Immigration Reform.  Most recently the group has been collaborating with NETWORK to ask the President to “End Title 42.”  Go to our Take Action Page to learn more and/or join us in signing the NETWORK Petition.

  In addition, the CSJ Immigration working group is seeking to find ways to support the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 which is a sweeping and comprehensive bill addressing many of the most pressing immigration issues.  Some key points of the Citizenship Act of 2021: 

  • A path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants 
  • A citizenship path for DREAMERs 
  • Increases to refugee and asylee caps 
  • Family reunification 
  • Protecting immigrants who served in the military 
  • Improvements to immigration courts and streamlined paperwork processes 

The Citizenship Act of 2021 has passed in the U.S. House, and it faces an uphill battle in the Senate.   The CSJ Immigration Working Group is hoping to schedule meetings with our senators, Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Smith, to express our communities hopes and concerns for our immigrant neighbors. More details to come and hope you can join us in working for immigration reform. 

The group continues to support the monthly ICOM peace vigils at the Whipple Federal building. Since the end of last year, the organization has offered in-person and Zoom options for attending the vigils, making the event as safe and accessible as possible.    ICOM Vigils are held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 7:30am. Learn more. 

Solidarity with the Immigrant Community:

There are many other ways to show our support for the Immigrant community, including getting involved with the work of the CSJ Immigration Working Group:

We are grateful to the CSJ Immigration Working Group’s and many other allies continued advocacy for compassionate immigration policies, laws and relief throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops support compassionate immigration policies for families.

As COVID-19 continues to upend the lives of thousands of Minnesotans, undocumented immigrants are significantly impacted and struggling. Over 38% of immigrants work in the hardest hit service industries according to the Catholic Health Association. For more information about the impact of COVID-19 on undocumented immigrants and the response by the CSJ Community (especially the Immigration Working Group), read our COVID Immigration article.

Continue to be a Voice for Justice! Speak up against laws and policies that negatively impact immigrants and refugees including actions separating families and negatively harming immigrant children. Be a witness at local vigils showing our support of immigrants and compassionate immigration policies including the monthly Interfaith Coalition on ImMigration (ICOM) on the second Tuesday morning of every month at the Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building.

 

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Consociates, hosted a November 12 vigil in compassion and solidarity with all our ‘dear neighbors’ without exception.  The Prayer Vigil was held outside the Whipple Federal Building near Fort Snelling together with the Social Justice Committee and Choir from Lumen Christi Catholic Community, students from St. Catherine University, and the Interfaith Coalition on Immigration (ICOM).  We raised our voices in prayer and song in love and on behalf of our immigrant neighbors, especially anyone facing hearings in the immigration court and migrant families separated by our nation’s broken immigration system.  We prayed for the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. as they hear arguments on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which will decide the fate of the thousands of DACA Youth across our country.  In the words of Pope Francis, we also prayed that our eyes and hearts might be opened to truly see how these divisive issues on immigration are “not just about migrants, it is about all of us.”

The CSJ community continues to pray and actively speak out in support of our immigrant neighbors as seen in some of the following community statements:

  • The leadership of the Sisters released a recent statement supporting Immigrants and Refugees, especially children placed in unsafe detention conditions and other concerning humanitarian crises impacting our immigrant neighbors. Read the full statement.
  • The CSJ Federation Statement Welcoming and Calling for Humane Treatment of Arriving Migrants. Read the full statement here.

The CSJ Immigration Working Group Goals:

  • Educating ourselves and the wider community on issues of Immigration;
  • Advocating individually and as a community for systemic change and
  • Addressing the immediate needs of immigrant communities, locally and nationally.

For more information contact Marty Roers at mroers@csjstpaul.org