Justice Updates – 2/18/2020

Stop the Death Penalty

The Death Penalty Action Center is calling for action on pending executions by signing petitions provided in the links enclosed. The center also provides information on upcoming legislation on the death penalty. Please take a minute and respond to the requests for action. This is a good follow up action to our corporate stance on the death penalty.

Mobilize for Dreamers in March

Please show your support for Dreamers by encouraging your representative to protect Dreamers!

Our Catholic Bishops continue to express their support for Dreamers and have sent letters to the House and Senate supporting legislation to protect these young people from deportation and family separation.

As the SCOTUS DACA decision date approaches, we ask you to continue to voice your support for Dreamers with your Senators in local meetings during the Congressional recess next month, which is March 16-20, 2020.

  • Use the talking points that CSMG attendees used in their Hill meetings and leave behind the DACA backgrounder in your own meetings.
  • Need help on how to set up a meeting? Click on this link for “How to Set Up an In-District Meeting with your Lawmaker.

Stop Trafficking

The latest edition of the US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, Stop Trafficking, focuses on the role of race in trafficking. Click here to read the February issue.


Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Justice Updates – February 11, 2020

Object the Use of Landmines

On January 31, 2020, President Trump lifted the restrictions on the use of landmines by U.S forces.  This decision reverses a 2014 Obama administration ban on the use of such weapons.

Allowing the use of landmines puts countless lives at risk in areas at war or previously at war. As the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor noted in a report last year, 71% of the casualties caused by landmines in 2018 were civilians.

For further details please click on this link.

Please contact President Trump on the White House comment line by calling (202) 561-1111 or click here to send an email.

A Letter from the Border

Sister Esther Calderon has sent an update regarding the effect of the “Remain in Mexico” protocol enacted by the Administration last year. Border Patrol has been returning at least 30 people a day back into Nogales, Sonora (Mexico) with orders for these families to report to Ciudad Juarez to begin their asylum hearings.  The families must not only find a way to travel the 350 miles unassisted from Nogales to Juarez in time for these scheduled hearings, but must also find a way to survive within Mexico with little to no resources.

Human Rights First documented 636 publicly reported cases of kidnapping, gang rape, torture, assault, and other violent attacks against asylum seekers and migrants returned to Mexico—likely only the tip of the iceberg. Among these were 138 kidnappings or attempted kidnappings of children.

Learn more about this tragic issue by clicking here.

Speak out Against an Unfair “Peace” Plan

The release of President Donald Trump’s long-delayed Israeli-Palestinian “peace plan” took place yesterday during a joint Trump-Netanyahu press conference. All the Israeli apartheid deniers, from Sheldon Adelson to Jared Kusher to mayors of the West Bank settlements, were in the room as Trump and Netanyahu announced a plan for even deeper repression of Palestinian rights. It has blown open the door for Israel to complete its theft of the West Bank. Congress must act immediately.

Palestinians had no say in the process. They rejected the plan in advance and have made clear that their rights, dignity, and lands are not for sale.

The plan calls for:

  • Annexing almost all of the West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley;
  • Rejecting the Palestinian right of return;
  • Carving the West Bank into swiss cheese such that no contiguous Palestinian state could ever be possible;
  • Insisting that Palestinians accept a permanent status where they have no control over their borders or their self-determination.

Speak out against “peace plan that isn’t” by clicking here, or by calling your representative.

Suffering at the Border

Norma Pimentel, a sister of the Missionaries of Jesus, and executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley sheds light on human suffering she is witnessing at the border as a result of the Migration Protection Protocols (MPP). Click here for her letter to President Trump following his State of the Union address. 

Stop Trafficking

The latest issue of the STOP TRAFFICKING is now available. Please click here to read.


Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

January 27, 2020 Justice Updates

  • The Interfaith Immigration Coalition (IIC), which includes the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, has called for a national day of prayer and action on behalf of migrants on Wednesday, January 29, 2020. A year ago, on January 29, 2019, the first migrants were sent back to Mexico under the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as Remain in Mexico.

Please consider taking part in this day in any way you can and encourage others to do so. Here are links to resources from the IIC:

  • Stories of migrants: click here
  • Faith4Asylum website: click here
  • Toolkit: click here

The Prayer Service and some resource materials are also attached.

  • Pope Francis marked the 75 Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau during his Sunday address. He advised his audience that remembering this tragedy is a duty, and called for all to say “Never again.” Click here for more. 
Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Justice Updates – January 21, 2020

Check out this resource from the Eco Justice Committee.  We all need a gentle reminder to GO GREEN this winter!


Do you know what cosmology is?  In this article from Global Sisters Report, Lorraine Villemaire, a Sister of St. Joseph of Springfield,  writes that in spite of the climate damage we see, “there actually is hope. Great efforts are being made today by governments and organizations to engage in system-based actions to save Earth. Technology and science are collaborating to provide facts on problems, to help play a role in transformation. However, individuals created Earth’s problems and individual conversion is needed to correct it.

Need a dose of beauty?  Listen to this 13-minute concert by amazing harpist Bridget Kibbey.

What’s happening to the working poor? Read Who Killed the Knapp Family where many working-class people are dying of despair.

Food waste is a huge problem in the United States. The good news: Each of us can help solve it. Here’s how.

What does Catholic Social Teaching teach about migrants?  Louisville Bishop Joseph Kurtz writes “We know that the Church at her best has always been a church that welcomes and accompanies others… The capacity of rich and powerful nations like the United States to welcome refugees and immigrants also is a serious responsibility. Read more from his teaching essay.

As the only major denomination with almost equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats, the Catholic Church is in a unique position to respond to today’s toxic politics. Thomas Reese explains “Four Catholic Solutions to Toxic Politics.

Just Mercy” is not a film about a man. It is about a movement to heal the wounds of racism and hatred. More than knowing his name, Bryan wants people to know the names of the 4,000 African Americans lynched as victims of racial terror and too often forgotten — people like Mary Turner, who was eight months pregnant when she was hung upside down by a white mob, set on fire and even cut open so her baby could be stomped to death.

Click here to download a study guide to the movie from Catholics Mobilizing.

DACA Recipients are being deported. What will happen to the rest of them?

Douglas Cremer writes in the Church Needs to Listen to Catholic Feminists, “many think we in the church should not bother ourselves with issues of gender, race, and power, that these questions are a modern preoccupation driven by secularism, the sexual revolution and identity politics. Yet the question of who identifies with whom has always been a critical question, as have questions of race/ethnicity, class, and gender, going as far back as Paul’s famous quote in Galatians: “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” The claim that these divisions are overcome in Christ Jesus signifies both that they are deeply important distinctions and that as the followers of Jesus Christ we must struggle to make the overcoming of these distinctions real.”


Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates

Justice Updates – January 14, 2020

Will the killing of Soleimani have consequences for Iraq’s Christians? Kevin Clarke of American Magazine writes “Following the news reports last night that eventually confirmed that a U.S. drone strike on Jan. 2 had killed Qasem Soleimani, leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, and associates including Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Iran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, I found myself hoping that someone in the Trump administration was remembering the perilous status of the Christian remnant in northern Iraq.” Read more.

We need a dose of good news.  Read Beyond Racial Strife, a Dose of Optimism for the New Year.

Tom Reese of religion News Service called Greta Thunberg a prophet. Here’s why.

Good news for immigrant farmworkers and their families. On December 11, 2019, the U.S. House passed HR 5038, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, a bipartisan bill which would improve conditions for immigrant farmworkers and their families, ensure the stability of the U.S. agricultural industry, offer legalization to certain farmworkers and their families, and reform the H2A worker program. After the vote of 260-165 for passage, Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, and Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, and Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued a statement in support of the legislation. After passage in the House, there is hope that this bill will be taken up in the Senate.

In one Kenyan fishing village, women have found a way to take care of their families without giving up their dignity. Find out how in No Sex for Fish.

The administration is rolling back several major environmental regulations viewing many Obama-era environmental regulations that curb carbon emissions as burdensome to businesses. Read more.

When people eat better, they enjoy better health, reducing not just suffering, but also some expenses. The NY Times explains how Cutting Food Stamps Can Add Costs Elsewhere.

The Federal Death Penalty is on hold for now but for how long?  Read more.

There is an update from the Casa Alita Welcome Center.

Dear friends,

In my last update for the Casa Alita Welcome Center, I wrote about the implementation of the so-called Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP), which had begun to bus asylum seekers to El Paso to return them to Ciudad Juarez to await their court proceedings in the US. We were told that we would only be receiving women who were more than six months pregnant, and families with children under one year of age. The Good News is that we are receiving more families and pregnant women traveling alone than usual! Every night, our shelter is full to capacity with guests from Ecuador, Cuba, Southern Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras as we juggle rooms for new incoming families. MPP is in place and people are being returned to Mexico, but apparently there isn’t the infrastructure or will to carry out this policy as publicized.

Families come to us throughout the day, arriving exhausted and greatly distressed by their journeys. In the past three days alone we have welcomed a hundred and seventy guests. Since I returned from my trip to visit seven shelters from central Mexico down to the southern border, I know better what they go through to get here. While we are told stories, to see the realities that our guests live through stays with me, as does their tenacity and courage under the most pressing and dangerous circumstances.

As the families leave their ICE vans, they pass the clothing room where they can get two changes of clothes. They enter the reception area and sit in church pews, where we share a breath prayer before orientation. I tell them that Paul says that sighs are prayer too deep for words. I invite them to take a deep breath in through their noses, and sigh out loud through their mouths as they exhale. Breathe in the peace of God. Breathe out the stress, fear, bad treatment, inadequate food from Ice detention. We repeat this several times and I invite them to close their eyes, and that is when the tears start to slow. In the privacy behind their eyes, the suffering they have endured touches them and then recedes and the sense of safety and gratitude for making it sink in. We can see them visibly relax as they hear that they are in their home, that we are all Americans, and that they are very welcome  at the Casa Alitas Welcome Center.

Children are quickest to leap to life in these new surroundings, attacking coloring books and toys with vigor. By their second day, after choosing two sets of clothing, bathing, and resting, they are almost unrecognizable. Imagine working your way on a six month journey through central America and Mexico. One dad asks me when is the soonest he can shower. “It’s been weeks,” he tells me, as I assure him that within the hour he will have his wish.

During this holy-day season, the song “Shout for Joy” sung by Odetta comes to mind, which is one of my favorite songs for this season, but most recently, here at the Casa Alitas Welcome Center for families seeking asylum every day has been Christmas. People are getting through to us when both we and our guests had imagined the worst. There is room at the inn! And for the several pregnant women, Christ is born, even into the most difficult circumstances.

These are some of the lyrics. Imagine Odetta singing them!

“Mary had a baby. (Shout for Joy!) Born in a stable. (Shout for Joy!) They laid him in a manger. (Shout for Joy!)  They named him Jesus. (Shout for Joy!) He was the Prince of peace. Mighty counselor. (Shout for Joy!) King Herod tried to find him. (Shout for Joy!) They went away to Egypt. (Shout for Joy!) Mary rode a donkey.(Shout for Joy!)Joseph walked beside her. (Shout for Joy!) Angels watchin” over. (Shout for Joy!) Angels watchin” over. (Shout for Joy!)

This brief respite that volunteers at the Casa Alitas Welcome Center provide is one small step along our journey to be the church/synagogue/mosque with all of God’s people. Grief and anger must be punctuated by joy or we run out of steam, fall into despair, and lose faith in ourselves and others. Our guests, who arrive wearing such trauma, years of trauma, teach us the simple joy of sitting outside, eating a good meal, reencountering a friend lost along the way, speaking to a family member by phone after months or years of separation, listening to music. Joy incarnate is surely what Jesus was all about – Good News here on earth.

Sometimes I see our guests and volunteers with such a look of contentment, I wonder at how that is possible in these difficult times. I don’t believe that we are doing together “saves” anyone in the traditional Christian doctrinal way. But I know for certain that we are saving lives and souls, both our guests and our own. For this little window in time we can be the person of faith that our faith practices call us to be. We are family that stretches far beyond our walls and wildest imagination.

Please feel free to share this letter with others who might be interested in learning more about our important work, and/or who might also like to offer financial support. Your support makes our work possible. Together, we provide help, create hope, and serve all. Your gift strengthens children, families, adults, and communities. Donations can be made directly to CCS at  Support Migrant Aid – Tucson and through our GoFundMe page https://www.gofundme.com/casa-alitas-for-migrant-families. For more information about Casa Alitas shelter programs, please see ccs-soaz.org.

Thank you for reading this and for your support to continue this important ministry.

“Mary had a baby. Shout for joy! Herod tried to find him. Shout for joy! They went away to Egypt. Shout for joy! Mary rode a donkey. Shout for joy! Joseph walked beside her. Shout for joy! Angels watchin’ over. Shout for joy! Angels watchin’ over. Shout for joy!”

In joy and gratitude for the birthing of Christ in each new day and dark night.   Rev. Dr. Delle McCormick

At the recent Lunch & Learn: Examining the Refugee Crisis with Art at the Martin de Porres Center, I read the following poem by Warsen Shire.  It is a powerful explanation of why refugees flee their homes. The author recites her poem here.


Posted in News, Peace & Justice Weekly Updates