Immigration – What is it? To immigrate – “to come into a new country, region, or environment in order to settle there.” To migrate – “to move from one place to another; especially to leave one’s country and to settle in another.” (Source: Webster’s New World Dictionary).
Immigration – Why Does It Happen? Natural disasters. Poverty and famine. International wars. Political oppression. Religious persecution. (Source: Peter Phan, A Promised Land, A Perilous Journey, “Migration in the Patristic Era,” 39)
Worldwide Migration Trends “More people live outside their country of birth than at any time in history.” “Between 1990 and 2005, the world gained 36 million international migrants.” “Migration to developed countries remained high during 1990-2005. The major increases in the number of international migrants occurred in North America (17 million) and Europe (15 million). “Migration for family reunification accounted for an important share of the inflows to those regions….” (Source: International Migration Report 2006 – A Global Assessment. United Nations, Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division 2009).
Immigration to the United States - Recent Trends 11.9 million undocumented people are estimated to live in the United States. 76% of undocumented people are Hispanic and 59% are from Mexico. March 2008 – 8.3 million undocumented workers, 5.4% of the workforce and 4.1% of the population. 6.8% of the students in elementary and secondary schools are sons and daughters of undocumented people. (Source: Jeffrey S. Passel and D’Vera Cohn, A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States, Pew Hispanic Center, April 14, 2009).
Scripture and Immigration Solidarity with those most in need. (Mt. 25: 31-46) Welcome of the stranger. (Dt. 10:12) Identity as people on journey. (Lk. 12:16-21) (Source: Donald Senior, A Promised Land, A Perilous Journey, “Beloved Aliens and Exiles,” 26-33)
Some Responses in Light of Faith Humanitarian Assistance. Education. Advocacy.
The Discernment Process – June 2006 to January 2008 Visits to Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora. Spoke to religious, governmental and non- profit leaders on both sides of the border. Two questions: What are the greatest needs? Would we be able to help?
What We Heard…. Nogales – Point of deportation for hundreds daily, at times in the middle of the night. Need for new services and coordination of existing ones. Increasing number of unaccompanied women who were vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Need for education on reality of migration. Need for research on migration, especially from the border. A new project must be bi- national in approach.
Kino Border Initiative Proposal Humanitarian Assistance. Education. Research and Advocacy. Confirmation of Discernment: God speaking through affirmative responses on both sides of the border. God’s Spirit moving in our hearts. God’s desires revealed through a common desire to work together.
Kino Border Initiative Approved – January 2008 Humanitarian assistance – May 2008. Education, research and advocacy – January 2009. Six participating organizations: California Province of the Society of Jesus. Mexican Province of the Society of Jesus. Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson. Roman Catholic Diocese of Hermosillo. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. Missionary Sisters of the Eucharist.
Next Steps – Further Confirmation Humanitarian Assistance. Migrant Outreach Center (CAMDEP). Casa Nazaret – Shelter for unaccompanied women and children. Education. Migrant liturgies. Presentations. Immersion Groups. Research and Advocacy. Visiting scholars. Surveys conducted to advocate locally and nationally.
These Days….. Legislation. Community Organizing. Implementation. Invitation: Remember the men and women most affected by the reality of migration. Be sensitive to God’s invitation and call.
Luke 4:18-19, 21 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor….‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’”