Statement from our Immigration Reform Committee following the 2016 Presidential Election
The Dominican Sisters of Peace stand in support of human rights for immigrants. We call for comprehensive immigration reform that would provide additional and viable legal avenues for immigration, reunite families, legalize undocumented persons and establish opportunities for permanent residency.
Sr. Janice Thome, OP, explains that, “persons without documents came to this country to find safety and a better life for their children. All our ancestors came for the latter as well. They are on alert continually because they know that a cracked windshield or some other unfortunate circumstance could put them on the radar of ICE. Now they have their fear multiplied by the promise they will all be deported. Their children know that something is wrong. Those old enough to understand the words are scared of losing their parents.”
We reject the President-elect’s plans to begin deporting undocumented immigrants in our country and urge all citizens and political leaders to embrace our country’s history of immigration and treat all immigrants with dignity and respect.
Why is this a public position for us?
We believe that no human being can be illegal. Most of our ancestors arrived in this country hoping to achieve the same dreams and hopes of new immigrants today. New immigrants are essential to our economy and have the human right to the same opportunities for employment, education and citizenship as previous generations of Americans.
Jesus taught that when we receive a foreigner, we receive Him, “when I was a stranger, you welcomed me…” (Matthew 25:35). In the pursuit of justice for immigrants, we follow the nonviolent Jesus, remembering that most of our ancestors were also alien in the alien land that is now the United States. Standing in solidarity with “people on the move” is aligned with the peace and justice priorities of the Dominican Order.
Immigration reform is primarily a humanitarian issue which impacts basic human rights and the dignity of the human person. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) writes in Strangers No Longer, “Catholic teaching has a long and rich tradition in defending the right to migrate.”
The Dominican Sisters of Peace and their Associates urge Congress to pass compassionate immigration reform that provides viable legal avenues for immigration, keeps families together, legalizes undocumented persons, and establishes opportunities for permanent residency.
Legislative reform would positively affect our own national economic, social, and cultural interests. According to the National Academy of Sciences, Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, immigrants fill jobs in key sectors, start their own businesses, and contribute to a thriving economy. The current immigration system is incapable of balancing our nation’s need for labor and the labor supply. Immigrants provide a net benefit to the US economy. Research reported by both the CATO Institute and the President’s Council of Economic Advisors reveals that the average immigrant pays a net $80,000 dollars more in taxes than they collect in government services.
Actions we have taken:
The Dominican Sisters of Peace and their Associates committed themselves corporately in the following statement: “We call for comprehensive immigration reform that would provide additional viable legal avenues for immigration, reunite families, legalize undocumented persons, and establish opportunities for permanent residency.” (2011)
Our public position on this issue is a collective effort, born of study and reflection, to focus our attention on some of the more urgent and compelling needs of our world. A public position requires that the members vote on the issue after careful study and prayer and make a special commitment of action, advocacy and resources to respond to the issue.
In taking this position, we commit ourselves to:
- urge support of both Federal and State immigration bills that are fair and comprehensive.
- attend rallies in support of immigration reform.
- continue to provide education on the need for immigration reform on our website
- participate in major conferences on immigration reform, including one recently sponsored by USCCB and Catholic Charities.
- USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) – Justice for Immigrants
- Dream Act Information
- Immigration Policy Center
- AmericanCatholic.org – The Church and Immigration
- Pax Christi USA
- “Dying to Live” – DVD (33 min), Carrasco, David, Notre Dame University
- “One Border, One Body” – DVD (30 min), Notre Dame University
- “The Line in the Sand” – DVD (49 min), Catholic Relief Services
- “Endless Exodus” DVD (130 min), Straub, Gerard Thomas, The San Damiano Foundation
- Underground America: Narratives of Undocumented Lives by Peter Orner and Luis Alberto Urrea