At the AUSCP Annual Conference of 2019 in St. Louis the Immigration Work Group was formed. At the Conference the work group met and decided on six priorities concerning immigration. From these six, the Immigration Work Group developed five priorities. The first priority is to promote education, including of ourselves, on domestic and international issues of migration. This priority includes studying what is happening at the border, by the federal government, the Catholic Church and other religious bodies and reflecting on what Catholic documents have been written concerning migration. The second priority is to report on and to participate in the outreach which is taking place on a parish and diocesan wide basis. The third priority is to preach on immigrants and the current situation of migration in the United States and the world and to connect immigration with Catholic teaching concerning the dignity of all human life. The fourth priority is to advocate for justice for immigrants on the local, state and federal levels of government both by parishes and dioceses. Finally, the fifth priority is to create welcoming church communities in which immigrants and asylum seekers are welcomed, and even to the point of offering sanctuary if possible and appropriate. Over the past year the group has discussed how we are living out and how we can promote each of these priorities.
One of our members has committed to oversee the “Immigration Corner” on the AUSCP website. Members discussed actions on the border in cities such as El Paso, Texas and Brownsville, Texas. Discussion also included visits to detention centers and ICE facilities in various states. The Immigration Work Group developed a letter with documentation from Catholic teaching which requested that the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, the Bishops’ Committee on Migration and the USCCB President and Vice President include the “migrant and refugee dimension of respect for life in all of your teaching and educational materials going forward.” Bob Bonnot helped to write the final version of the letter and it was sent out on behalf of the AUSCP.