A wide-ranging group of Catholic organizations, including many connected to the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) throughout the Americas, is encouraging Catholic bishops throughout the United States, Mexico, and Central America to work collaboratively to protect migrants and improve life in the communities they are fleeing from.
In a letter dated June 17, over 160 organizations urged the leaders of the Catholic bishops’ conferences in the United States, Mexico, and Central America to “hear the cries of our brothers and sisters on the move and respond with bold leadership.” Noting the promise of a new U.S. Administration to address the root causes of migration the group highlighted three key areas for collective action by the Catholic Church: 1. Responding humanely to increased migration; 2. Putting immigrants in the U.S. on a pathway to citizenship; and 3. Addressing the underlying conditions that force people to migrate.
The encouraging call to action to Catholic bishops comes as faith-based many organizations, including the Ignatian Solidarity Network and Jesuit Conference Office of Justice and Ecology, have been advocating for legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders.
The letter was spearheaded by Faith in Action and Hope Border Institute. Signatories connected to the Ignatian network and Jesuit works in the U.S. included: Ignatian Solidarity Network, Jesuit Refugee Service USA, Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States Office of Justice & Ecology, Jesuit Conference of Latin America and the Caribbean, USA Jesuits West Province, Kino Border Initiative, Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center, and St. Francis Xavier Church in Phoenix, AZ. And in Latin America: Red Jesuita con Migrantes Latinoamérica y el Caribe (RJM-LAC), Red Jesuita con Migrantes Centro y Norteamérica (RJM-CANA), and Servicio Jesuita a Refugiados México. The letter was also signed by over 50 women religious communities, many of who minister to migrants throughout the region.
For the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the letter’s arrival was timely coming amid their semi-annual meeting taking place June 16-18, virtually due to COVID-19.