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National Migration Week 2017 To Be Celebrated January 8-14

December 21, 2016

WASHINGTON—National Migration Week 2017 will take place January 8-14. This year’s theme is “Creating a Culture of Encounter.” The celebration provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the contributions of migrants, including refugees, and victims of human trafficking in our communities.

With over 65 million people forcibly displaced from their homes globally, the world is increasingly affected by migration. National Migration Week offers a time to educate Catholic communities about migration and to come together to encounter immigrants and refugees in parishes, dioceses, and communities.

“National Migration Week is an excellent opportunity to highlight Biblical tradition and our mission to welcome the newcomer,” said Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration. “While the observance is only a week long, it is a vital time to show welcome, compassion, and solidarity with our migrant and refugee brothers and sisters.”

As part of the 2017 National Migration Week celebration, the Justice for Immigrants (JFI) coalition will be launching a new website that will feature news, background materials on migration policy issues, and ways for individuals to get involved.

The observance of National Migration Week began over 25 years ago by the U.S. bishops to give Catholics an opportunity to honor and learn about the diverse communities of the Church and the work that the Church undertakes to serve immigrants and refugees. The week serves as both a time for prayer and action to highlight the contributions of immigrants and vulnerable populations coming to the United States.

Educational materials and other resources for National Migration Week are available for download at www.usccb.org/nationalmigrationweek. Posters, prayer cards, and booklets are available through the USCCB publishing service at www.usccbpublishing.org.

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USCCB Migration Chairman Calls Upon Elected Officials and All Americans to Work Together to Welcome Refugees and Immigrants without Sacrificing Our Core Values and Security

November 11, 2016

WASHINGTON— Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle, and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, has issued the following statement congratulating President-elect, Donald Trump on his election and the need to continue to protect the inherent dignity of refugees and migrants.

Full statement follows.

Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle

Chairman, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration:

We would first like to congratulate President-elect Donald J. Trump and give our support for all efforts to work together to promote the common good, especially those to protect the most vulnerable among us. I personally pledge my prayers for Mr. Trump, all elected officials, and those who will work in the new administration. I offer a special word to migrant and refugee families living in the United States: be assured of our solidarity and continued accompaniment as you work for a better life.

We believe the family unit is the cornerstone of society, so it is vital to protect the integrity of the family. For this reason, we are reminded that behind every “statistic” is a person who is a mother, father, son, daughter, sister or brother and has dignity as a child of God. We pray that as the new administration begins its role leading our country, it will recognize the contributions of refugees and immigrants to the overall prosperity and well-being of our nation. We will work to promote humane policies that protect refugee and immigrants’ inherent dignity, keep families together, and honor and respect the laws of this nation.

Serving and welcoming people fleeing violence and conflict in various regions of the world is part of our identity as Catholics. The Church will continue this life-saving tradition. Today, with more than 65 million people forcibly displaced from their homes, the need to welcome refugees and provide freedom from persecution is more acute than ever and our 80 dioceses across the country are eager to continue this wonderful act of accompaniment born of our Christian faith. We stand ready to work with a new administration to continue to ensure that refugees are humanely welcomed without sacrificing our security or our core values as Americans. A duty to welcome and protect newcomers, particularly refugees, is an integral part of our mission to help our neighbors in need.

We pray for President -elect Trump and all leaders in public life, that they may rise to the responsibilities entrusted to them with grace and courage. And may all of us as Catholics and Americans remain a people of solidarity with others in need and a nation of hospitality which treats others as we would like to be treated.

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As Catholics, We Must Overcome Partisan Divides On Migration Issues, Says USCCB’s Migration Chairman

September 14, 2016

WASHINGTON—Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:

On September 19, The United Nations General Assembly is calling together for the first time a summit level meeting of Heads of State and government officials to discuss the large movement of refugees and migrants in the world today. The event will highlight the need for shared responsibility by the international community to address migration related crises around the world. This provides an opportunity for the bishops to bring attention to their long-standing teachings on migration, which are rooted in the Gospel message of welcome and grounded in Catholic social teaching.

Standing before the United States Congress, Pope Francis called on all Americans to “seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities.” His words are prescient to our situation today, in which we find ourselves immersed in an environment that lays bare divisions and disagreements that undermine solidarity and authentic community. As Catholics, we are called to overcome the partisan divides that separate us and instead focus on the moral teachings of the Church that will help us build a vibrant public square.

The Catholic bishops of the United States recognize the responsibility of nations to control their borders. Maintaining secure and reliable procedures that effectively manage the flow of people entering the United States is an important component of our immigration system. In addition, we will continue to underscore the right of people to migrate who are unable to find the means to support themselves and their families in their homeland, or who are fleeing persecution and violence. Sovereign nations should find a way to accommodate this right.

But it is not enough that we welcome the migrants into our communities. The political and religious leaders of this great nation must work with the leaders of other countries to help create the conditions so people do not feel compelled to migrate in the first place. We must promote the common good everywhere, so that people in all nations can live a life where their human dignity is protected. We must nurture a culture that prioritizes family unity and which rejects situations where families are forced apart because economic opportunities are not available where they live. We must seek a world in which everyone has access to the economic, political, and social opportunities to live in freedom and dignity, and to achieve a full life through the use of their God-given gifts.

Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, humanitarian, migration, Committee on Migration, refugees, migrants, Catholic social teaching, Congress, Pope Francis, United Nations General Assembly
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