WASHINGTON — President Obama vowed a year ago to give Central American children fleeing violence a new, legal way into the United States by allowing them to apply for refugee status while in their own countries instead of accepting help from smugglers or resorting to a dangerous trek across Mexico.
But not a single child has entered the United States through the Central American Minors program since its establishment in December, in large part because of a slow-moving American bureaucracy that has infuriated advocates for the young children and their families.
HEGYESHALOM, HUNGARY Along the border between Hungary and Austria, Rosala Holzschuh stands in the midnight darkness as thousands of refugees flow past her on their way toward Western Europe. As a cold wind swirls around her, Holzschuh looks for children with no shoes, and when she spots one, she grabs their parent and steers them toward a pile of donated socks and shoes.
As Europe faces its largest refugee crisis in decades, government agencies and charitable groups simply cannot fill the enormous humanitarian gaps. Holzschuh, a Catholic from Vienna, is one of tens of thousands of volunteers spread across several countries, shepherding the multitude of refugees and migrants crossing their lands.
After the “Summer of Trump,” when the immigration debate reached new lows for rancor and resentment, Pope Francis’ remarks on immigration during his six day visit last month to the U.S. were a welcomed call to compassion and solidarity.
He began his first speech in the United States, held at the White House on Wednesday morning, September 23, by immediately identifying himself with our nation’s immigrant past: “As the son of an immigrant family I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families,” adding that, “American Catholics are committed to building a society which is truly tolerant and inclusive, to safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities, and to rejecting every form of unjust discrimination.”
During the motorcade on Constitution Avenue following his White House visit the pope was reminded how urgent the need for a just resolution to our nation’s immigration crisis is to millions of American families. Seeing a five-year-old girl trying to get his attention, he waved her over. When she was lifted up to receive his kiss, Sophie Cruz handed the pontiff a letter she had written asking him to urge the President and Congress to pass immigration reform so her undocumented parents could remain in the U.S. Continue reading Son of Immigrants Provides Hopeful Message on Immigration→
A nomadic priest who drifts from place to place looking for refugees to help is the unlikely rival to Pope Francis for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Fr Mussie Zerai, an Eritrean catholic priest has been nominated for the 2015 prize for his role in helping migrants trying to reach Europe. Fr Zerai, 60, has been a running a hot-line for the migrants, who have been undertaking the deadly voyages across the Sahara Desert and turbulent waters of the sea waters that separate Africa and Europe.
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Indifference to the crises and tragedies today’s migrants and refugees are facing lead to complicity when people remain silent or refuse to act, Pope Francis said.
Jesus’ call to welcome the stranger and show mercy is clear, the pope said in a message released at the Vatican Oct. 1.
“Yet there continue to be debates about the conditions and limits to be set for the reception of migrants, not only on the level of national policies, but also in some parish communities, whose traditional tranquility seems to be threatened,” he said.