October 17, 2019 — Ignatian communities are embracing the Jesuit provincials’ call to walk in solidarity with migrants and asylum seekers. Following the provincials’ meeting with Homeland Security last week, parishes, universities, high schools and individuals across the U.S. and Canada took action to advocate for and welcome migrants.
At St. Ignatius Parish in San Francisco, parishioners packed their sleeping bags and pajamas for a Migrant Solidarity Sleep-in. Through prayer and education, the congregation called for an end to family separation and migrant detention.
Using the resources from our migrant solidarity website, Creighton University students and staff mailed over 700 postcards to 48 Congressional representatives and 55 senators advocating for welcoming immigration policies. On October 2 alone, campus activists made over 135 phone calls to their representatives.
THANK YOU to all who joined us on Monday to celebrate the World Day for Migrants and Refugees.— Creighton SCSJ (@creighton_SCSJ) October 2, 2019
Between our display on the mall and our phone bank, we collected 740 postcards and made over 135 phone calls to our elected officials to advocate for migration justice! #JesuitEducated pic.twitter.com/nlJNJvLVgr
At Jesuit high schools, students took up the call for solidarity through legislative meetings and letter writing campaigns.
A group from St. Aloysius Parish in Spokane, Washington, fully immersed themselves in the issues at the U.S.-Mexico border. During a weeklong migration education program, parishioners traveled into the Sonoran Desert near Nogales, Arizona, where many migrants make the dangerous crossing into the U.S. They also met with migrant families and the ministries, such as Kino Border Initiative, that help them.
This week at Xavier University in Cincinnati and its Bellarmine Chapel, the community is observing Undocuweek through vigils, advocacy and a benefit concert. The chapel collected over 200 letters to send to Ohio Senator Rob Portman, calling for comprehensive immigration reform and an increase in refugee resettlement numbers. A vigil on October 13 honored seven children killed while in ICE custody, and on October 18, the chapel and Xavier students will host a benefit concert for the Kino Border Initiative and the League of United Latin American Citizens.
In Canada, Centre justice et foi (CJF) is part of a grassroots advocacy campaign protesting the construction of a new migrant detention center in Laval, Quebec. At a lecture on October 15, CJF invited campaign organizers to discuss issues related to the detention of migrants in Canada and how to take action to end migrant incarceration. Participants also heard the testimony of a Mexican indigenous refugee who was detained in one of these centers.
Last week, after years of instability, a migrant family found refuge in Our Lady of Guadalupe in San Diego. The parish welcomed the mother, Emaniza, who was uprooted from her home of Haiti after the 2011 earthquake. She resettled and had three children in Venezuela but the violence and economic instability there forced her to flee through Central America. Parishioners at Our Lady of Guadalupe are housing the family in a renovated home, where Emaniza is under house arrest until her asylum hearings.
For members of St. Mary’s Student Parish in Ann Arbor, Michigan, migrant solidarity means literally walking and driving with each other. The parish hosts regular driver orientations that prepare volunteers to accompany undocumented parishioners (who cannot hold driver’s licenses by Michigan state law) to their ICE and court appointments, as well as on errands. The congregation also participated in an immigration conference at the Diocese of Lansing with 100 religious, lay and migrant leaders.
In Spokane, members of St. Aloysius and St. Anne's parishes organized a day of advocacy on October 10, titled “Prayerful Witness: Walking in Solidarity with Immigrants.” Participants first met with representatives from Senator Patty Murray’s office to voice their concerns about the treatment of migrants in Washington. Then, congregants walked to the nearby Intermodal shopping center where a number of undocumented migrants have been arrested recently.
Following the lead of the provincials, many communities scheduled advocacy meetings with their local and federal representatives to talk about just asylum and immigration policies.
Join the provincials and our Ignatian network in calling for immigration policy reform in the U.S. and Canada. Get involved here.