When is Enough, Enough
June 24, 2019
“The recent on-again, off-again, threats of ICE sweeps in major cities only fuel fear, division, and distrust, harming all of us, when we should be working together to achieve comprehensive immigration reform,” says Margaret Peterson, Interim CEO of Catholic Charities East Bay.
“As a country, we are and must be better than this. I implore our leaders to come together, despite party affiliation, and find a just and moral resolution to this issue – one that recognizes the importance of keeping families together.”
“At Catholic Charities, we see every day the impact of a broken system. Families are frequently a mix of citizens, permanent residents, and one or two members at risk of deportation as they wait for a legal remedy from a slow and cumbersome system. Once eligible for a green card, for example, people still wait a year or more to receive the document,” says Peterson. “I encourage people of compassion and goodwill to speak up and demand both reform and accountability.”
“At Catholic Charities, we will continue to offer legal services to people seeking asylum or a path to citizenship. We also will continue to educate newcomers on their rights under the law.”
Forgotten in the division that is stirred up each time the immigration flag is raised is the following:
- The US Constitution provides due process under the law for all people in our country, regardless of citizenship status. Our country is founded on this.
- People seeking asylum must do so at the border or in the country. They have the right to a hearing and legal counsel.
- Migrants are contributing members of our community, and our communities are stronger when we all can live openly and without fear.
- Immediate, thorough overhaul of our immigration system that puts families first is necessary to offer a path to legal status for the family members of citizens so that families can stay safely and openly together.
- Under current law, families may wait multiple years to move forward in the system. More frequently, there is no path for a parent of a citizen child, a spouse, or other family members.
Among other services, Catholic Charities helps people who seek the legal right to work and live in the US, including the pursuit of citizenship. The agency also educates community members on their rights under the law. “Our faith calls us to this work,” says Peterson. “It is the right thing to do.”
Catholic Charities East Bay is also part of Stand Together Contra Costa, a rapid response, legal services and community education project to support safety and justice for immigrant families in Contra Costa County.
Important phone numbers:
Stand Together Contra Costa 1-925-900-5151
Alameda County Immigration Legal and Education Partnership 1-510-241-4011
Catholic Charities East Bay 1-510-768-3100