Trump vows to keep fighting for travel ban blocked again by courts

WASHINGTON (CNS) – The U.S. Department of Justice issued a brief notice March 17 that it will appeal a Maryland federal judge’s ruling that blocked President Donald Trump’s new executive order on a temporary travel ban.
An appeal of the March 16 decision by U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland sends the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, which is based in Richmond, Virginia.
A day before Chuang ruled, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu blocked the revised order, which called for stopping refugee resettlement programs for 120 days and banning citizens of six Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – from entering the U.S. for 90 days. The new order leaves out Iraq, which was in his first order.
Both judges said the temporary ban, which was to have taken effect at midnight March 16, violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which says the government can pass no law that establishes religion or prohibits the free exercise of religion.
If the Department of Justice had decided to appeal Watson’s order, the case would have gone to the 9th Circuit, the court that upheld several lower court rulings that blocked Trump’s first executive order.
Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc., or CLINIC, applauded both judges for blocking implementation of the latest Trump administration travel and refugee policies.
“As both judges said, the March 6 executive order is clearly a religion-based test and it should be stopped,” said Jeanne Atkinson, executive director of CLINIC, which is based in the Washington suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland. “The language of this order may differ somewhat from the earlier version – which was also blocked by several federal courts – but it is no improvement on the core problem with the ban.”
“In the United States, we do not base our laws about who may come here to visit, work or study, let alone who may immigrate, on religious beliefs,” she said in a March 16 statement. “There is too much evidence that animus toward Muslims is at the heart of both versions of these travel bans.”
In their decisions, Watson and Chuang both pointed to anti-Muslim comments made by Trump during his presidential campaign and such comments made by others associated with Trump as evidence that the ban discriminated against a certain religion.
In her statement, Atkinson said: “We stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters, who would be affected disproportionately by the ban on travel from six predominantly Muslim countries.”
Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said the organization looked forward “to defending this careful and well-reasoned decision in the appeals court.” The ACLU was one of the groups that filed suit against the executive order.
Trump’s temporary travel ban “has fared miserably in the courts, and for good reason – it violates fundamental provisions of our Constitution,” Jadwat added in a statement.
In her statement, Atkinson said Chuang and Watson were “correct to stop such misguided policies.”
“The United States is better than this,” she added.
President Donald Trump, during a campaign rally in Nashville, vowed to fight the latest court ruling blocking his executive order temporarily suspending immigration from six Muslim-majority countries and refugee resettlement all the way to the Supreme Court.
“We’re going to fight this terrible ruling,” the president told a crowd of cheering supporters in Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium March 15. “The danger is clear. The law is clear. The need for my executive order is clear.”
Before the rally, the president visited the Hermitage, the home of President Andrew Jackson, and laid a wreath at his grave in honor of the 250th anniversary of the seventh president’s birthday.
During the Nashville rally, the president said his administration is “working night and day to keep our nation safe from terrorism. … For this reason, I issued an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration from places it cannot safely occur.”
“They best way to keep … radical Islamic terrorists from attacking our country is to keep them from coming to our country in the first place,” Trump said. “This ruling makes us look weak, which we no longer are.”

Inmigrante detenida después de aparición pública enfrenta futuro incierto

JACKSON – Pastores, abogados, inmigrantes y defensores de los inmigrantes se reunieron en el alcaldía el miércoles 1 de marzo para expresar sus preocupaciones sobre las redadas recientes de inmigración e invitar a la comunidad en general a asistir a un foro para discutir las contribuciones de los inmigrantes
Daniela Vargas, una joven de 22 años, fue detenida por agentes de la Agencia de Inmigración y Aduanas de los Estados Unidos (ICE). Aunque liberada de la custodia federal el 10 de marzo, el futuro estatus de Vargas aún está en el aire. Vargas se convirtió en el principal ejemplo de cómo son realmente complejas las cuestiones de inmigración cuando fue detenida después de hablar en la conferencia. Pasó varios días en un centro de detención en Louisiana pero todavía está bajo supervisión. Los agentes no han decidido cómo proceder, pero los abogados son esperanzados que ella será permitida permanecer en este pais.

Daniela Vargas habla en una rueda de prensa sobre los pasos del Ayuntamiento de Jackson. Vargas habló como un receptor de DACA cuyo padre y hermano enfrentan posible deportación. Inmediatamente después de la conferencia de prensa, los agentes federales la llevaron en custodia. (Foto de Tereza Ma.)

Daniela Vargas habló como una receptora de DACA. Inmediatamente después de la conferencia de prensa, los agentes federales la llevaron en custodia. (Foto de Tereza Ma.)

Originalmente de Argentina, Vargas trasladó a los Estados Unidos con su familia cuando tenía siete años y estaba cubierta por el programa Acción Diferida por Llegadas de la Niñez (DACA). Pero debido a razones financieras, su estado había caducado ya que esas solicitudes deben renovarse cada dos años. Bajo DACA, los jóvenes que vienen a este país antes de cumplir los 16 años de edad pueden solicitar el estatus de acción diferida. Estos jóvenes deben permanecer fuera de problemas legales, estar en la escuela o haber graduado de la escuela secundaria o servir en el ejército de los Estados Unidos, así como reaplicar el estatus de acción diferida.
Éste no fue su primer encuentro con ICE. Los agentes arrestaron a su padre y a su hermano en su casa a principios de este año mientras ella se escondía en un armario. Agentes ICE allanaron la casa y la detuvieron por un corto tiempo, pero la liberaron cuando ella indicó que había vuelto a aplicar para DACA. Su hermano está esperando audiencias de deportación.
“Cuando tenía siete años mis padres sacrificaron todo lo que habían conocido para llevar a mi hermano y yo a este pais para establecer un mejor estilo de vida. Mis padres comenzaron a trabajar en plantas de pollos donde la mayoría de los días el frío era insoportable“, dijo en la conferencia de prensa. “Sabiendo que estaban haciendo este sacrificio por nosotros, puse todos mis esfuerzos en mi educación y mis talentos. Sueño de ser profesora universitaria de matemáticas, pero ahora no estoy tan segura de que mi sueño se desarrolle“, agregó Vargas.
Nathan Elmore representa a Vargas. Dijo que su caso es complicado, pero sabe que ICE tiene discreción en sus casos y espera que los agentes lo ejerzan. Vargas, señaló, no cae bajo las ‘deportaciones prioritarias’ delineadas por la administración Trump. Ella no tiene antecedentes penales, es elegible para una renovación DACA y no estaba cometiendo un crimen cuando fue recogida.
El obispo Joseph Kopacz escribió una carta en apoyo a Vargas diciendo: “Algunos han expresado su gran preocupación en todos los niveles de gobierno y de la sociedad que los receptores de DACA pueden ser especialmente vulnerables en la transición de una administración a la siguiente, pero el Presidente Trump ha declarado que él honrar el estado de todos los destinatarios de DACA. Espero que las dependencias locales de nuestro Servicio de Inmigración y Aduanas mantengan la letra y el espíritu de la ley con respecto al estatus legal de los receptores de DACA “.
Elmore dijo que la atmósfera actual en la comunidad inmigrante es de miedo, especialmente entre las familias con niños. “Este fin de semana, yo y varios miembros de mi equipo de abogados fuimos a Morton, Mississippi, donde hicimos un evento de divulgación donde hablamos con gente como Daniela. Esta gente estaba asustada. Están preocupados de que ‘¿qué pasa si me recogen, quién va a cuidar a mi hijo?’ Esta fue la pregunta número uno que enfrentamos cuando hablamos con estas personas … y es una pregunta difícil para responder,” él dijo.
Amelia McGowan, abogada del Catholic Charities Migrant Resource Center, hizo eco de ese sentimiento. “A menudo un tema que no se discute es que muchos inmigrantes que vienen a los Estados Unidos – documentados o indocumentados – tienen hijos ciudadanos estadounidenses, o tal vez no ciudadanos, pero que han vivido toda su vida aquí en los Estados Unidos. Las incursiones forzadas de inmigración no sólo ponen a los niños en peligro inmediato de retirar a sus padres, sino que también los coloca en un constante temor, que puede volver a traumatizarlos si han sufrido un pasado traumático de sus países de origen “, dijo McGowan.
El Padre Redentorista Michael McAndrew está de acuerdo. Ha estado abogando por familias inmigrantes en los Estados Unidos por casi tres décadas. Hoy en día, es parte de una comunidad redentorista en Greenwood sirviendo a la comunidad hispana en todo el Delta. Señaló que la deportación es más complicada de lo que parece cuando los niños están involucrados. “Por supuesto, la ley de inmigración establece que los niños ciudadanos pueden permanecer en este país, pero los derechos de los niños deben proteger más que sólo el derecho de los niños a estar aquí. El último orador, Jim Evans, presidente de la Alianza para los Derechos de los Inmigrantes de Mississippi (MIRA por sus siglas en inglés), dijo que los derechos de los niños no son abusivos o les causan daño “, dijo el padre McAndrew. , Trajo el Evangelio a llevar en su desafío a los líderes estatales y miembros de la comunidad de fe. “El evangelio de Jesucristo habla a estos sufrimientos en nuestro medio, no como quienes son, sino como quienes somos y cómo atendemos a ellos, no establecen quiénes son, sino que lo hace claro y revela quiénes somos”. él dijo. La conferencia de prensa fue organizada por la Asociación Latinoamericana de Negocios, ONE Church y MIRA. El grupo todavía espera ser anfitrión de un foro comunitario para mostrar las contribuciones de los inmigrantes a Mississippi y abrir un diálogo con los departamentos locales de aplicación de la ley. El foro está programado para el martes, 11 de abril, a las 6 pm, en la Iglesia de Fondren en State Street en Jackson.

Trump promete seguir luchando por la prohibición de viajar bloqueada

Por Andy Telli y Theresa Laurence
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (CNS) – El presidente Donald Trump, durante una manifestación de campaña en Nashville, prometió luchar contra la última sentencia judicial bloqueando su orden ejecutiva suspendiendo temporalmente la inmigración de seis países de mayoría musulmana y el reasentamiento de refugiados hasta la Corte Suprema .
“Vamos a luchar contra este fallo terrible”, dijo el presidente a una multitud de simpatizantes en el Auditorio Municipal de Nashville el 15 de marzo. “El peligro es claro, la ley es clara y la necesidad de mi orden ejecutiva es clara”.
Antes de la manifestación, el presidente visitó Hermitage, el hogar del presidente Andrew Jackson, y colocó una corona de flores en su tumba en honor al 250 aniversario del cumpleaños del séptimo presidente.
Más temprano en el día, el juez Derrick Watson de Hawaii emitió una orden de restricción temporal contra la prohibición de viajar de Trump. En su orden, el juez dictaminó que el gobierno no había demostrado que la prohibición era necesaria para proteger al país de los terroristas que trataban de infiltrarse en el país a través de la inmigración legal o el programa de refugiados.
La prohibición de viajar habría prohibido a los ciudadanos de Irán, Libia, Somalia, Sudán y Siria entrar a los Estados Unidos durante 90 días y todos los refugiados durante 120 días. Fue el segundo intento de la administración Trump de implementar una prohibición de viajar. Después de que la primera orden fue bloqueada por un juez, Trump emitió una nueva orden que eliminó a Irak de la lista de países.
El orden nuevo fue bloqueado por un segundo juez federal. El juez del distrito estadounidense, Theodore Chuang, de Maryland, dictaminó que la orden de Trump estaba destinada a prohibir a los musulmanes y por lo tanto violó la Primera Enmienda.

El presidente estadounidense Donald Trump firma una orden ejecutiva revisada para una prohibición de viajar a Estados Unidos el 6 de marzo en el Pentágono en Arlington, Virginia. La orden ejecutiva prohíbe temporalmente a los refugiados de ciertos países musulmanes mayoritarios y ahora excluye a Irak. (Foto del CNS / Carlos Barria, Reuters)

El presidente estadounidense Donald Trump firma una orden ejecutiva revisada para una prohibición de viajar a Estados Unidos el 6 de marzo en el Pentágono en Arlington, Virginia. La orden ejecutiva prohíbe temporalmente a los refugiados de ciertos países musulmanes mayoritarios y ahora excluye a Irak. (Foto del CNS / Carlos Barria, Reuters)

El 16 de marzo en Washington, el secretario de prensa de la Casa Blanca, Sean Spicer, confirmó los planes de la administración Trump de apelar las sentencias de los dos jueces.
Durante el manifestación de Nashville, el presidente dijo que su administración está “trabajando noche y día para mantener a nuestra nación a salvo del terrorismo … Por esta razón, emitió una orden ejecutiva para suspender temporalmente la inmigración de lugares que no puede ocurrir con seguridad”.
“El mejor modo de evitar que los terroristas islámicos radicales ataquen nuestro país es impedirles que vayan a nuestro país en primer lugar”, dijo Trump. “Esta decisión nos hace parecer débiles, lo que ya no somos”.
La prohibición de viajar fue uno de varios temas que el presidente abordó en su discurso, que abordó una amplia gama de temas y fue muy similar al estilo de sus manifestaciones de campaña durante la campaña presidencial de 2016.
El presidente alineó su agenda con la de Jackson. “Él entendió que el liderazgo real significa poner a Estados Unidos primero”.
“Hemos estado poniendo mucha nuestra agenda de America First en acción”, dijo Trump. “Acabamos de empezar, espera hasta que veas lo que viene, amigos.”
Antes de que se anunciara la decisión sobre la prohibición de viajar, se esperaba que el presidente hablara en apoyo de la Ley Americana de Cuidado de la Salud, el proyecto de ley republicano que derogaría y reemplazaría la Ley del Cuidado de Salud a Bajo Precio, conocida como Obamacare. Pero fue casi 30 minutos en el discurso antes de que Trump trajo la revocación de los republicanos y reemplazar el esfuerzo.
A principios de la semana, la Oficina de Presupuesto del Congreso publicó su análisis del proyecto de ley, que proyectaba que el proyecto de ley reduciría el déficit federal en 337.000 millones de dólares en 10 años, pero dejaría 24 millones menos de personas cubiertas por el seguro de salud para 2026. Eliminar el mandato individual que obliga a las personas a comprar un seguro de salud o pagar una multa de impuestos y también poner fin a la expansión del programa de Medicaid bajo la Ley de Cuidado de Salud a Bajo Precio.
Los cambios en el programa de Medicaid en virtud de la Ley de Atención de Salud estadounidense daría lugar a 14 millones de personas más sin seguro, de acuerdo con la oficina de presupuesto.
A pesar del feroz debate sobre el proyecto de ley entre los republicanos en el Congreso, el presidente predijo que pasaría. “Y luego vamos a la reducción de impuestos, que me gusta.”
Trump abordó varias otras áreas de su agenda, incluyendo la reducción de las regulaciones gubernamentales sobre las empresas, recortar el presupuesto, aumentar el gasto en defensa, sacar a Estados Unidos de varios acuerdos comerciales y construir un muro a lo largo de la frontera sur del país.
La aparición en el Auditorio Municipal fue organizada y pagada por la campaña presidencial de reelección, que se lanzó a mediados de febrero.
Mientras el presidente hablaba dentro del Auditorio Municipal, miles de manifestantes salieron a las calles del centro de Nashville para defender causas en las que creían, incluyendo acceso a servicios de salud, derechos de inmigrantes y refugiados, derechos de los trabajadores y más.
Junto con anarquistas vestidos de negro, los partidarios de Planned Parenthood en sombreros de color rosa brillante y Y de otros manifestantes de Trump, la gente de fe estaba en la mano protestando las políticas de Trump. Bobbi Negron estaba allí con su esposo y niño pequeño. Es profesora en la Academia St. Bernard en Nashville y cofundadora de Workers ‘Dignity, una organización sin fines de lucro que ayuda a trabajadores de bajos salarios, muchos de los cuales son latinos, a enfrentarse al robo de salarios ya los abusos en el lugar de trabajo. “Estamos aquí porque nuestros vecinos y amigos viven con miedo, no saben si serán recogidos y deportados”, dijo al diario Tennessee Register, diario de la diócesis de Nashville. Como puertorriqueña, Negron dijo que sentía que era su deber resistir a los inmigrantes, especialmente a los musulmanes y los que estaban en el país sin documentos, que se sienten especialmente apuntados en este momento. “Practicamos lo que creemos”, dijo. Tienes que salir y aparecer. – – – Telli es redactora y Laurence es escritora del Tennessee Register, diario de la Diócesis de Nashville

Trump signs new executive order on refugees, excludes Iraq from ban

By Mark Pattison
WASHINGTON (CNS) – President Donald Trump’s new executive order temporarily banning refugees from certain majority-Muslim countries, signed March 6, now excludes Iraq from the ban.
Iraq had been one of seven nations in the original order, issued Jan. 27 but the implementation of which was blocked in the courts. The new order will not take effect until March 16.
Citizens of four of the countries still part of the ban – Iran, Libya, Somalia and Syria – will be subject to a 90-day suspension of visa processing. This information was given to Congress the week prior to the new executive order. The other two countries that remain part of the ban are Sudan and Yemen.
Lawful permanent residents – green card holders – are excluded from any travel ban.
While the revised executive order is intended to survive judicial scrutiny, those opposed to it have declared plans to mobilize their constituencies to block it. Church World Service and the National Council of Churches announced March 2, that they will unveil a new grass-roots ecumenical initiative in support of refugees.
Catholic immigration advocates were on tenterhooks waiting for the revised executive order, the issuance of which had been long promised but slow in coming.
Bill O’Keefe, vice president for government relations and advocacy at Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops’ international aid agency, told Catholic News Service that he had seen communications from “senior White House officials” that would retain the ban, but indicated the indefinite ban on Syrians would be lifted.
Religious preferences found in the would be original order would be erased, but green-card holders would be exempt from the ban. O’Keefe said. The halt of refugee admissions to “determine additional security vetting procedures” would stay in place, he added, and the number of refugee admissions would be cut for the 2017 fiscal year, which runs through Sept. 30, from 110,000 to 50,000; an estimated 35,000 have already been admitted since October, according to O’Keefe.
“Some will argue that simply sectioning out the seven Muslim-majority countries is a form of religious discrimination,” O’Keefe said. “What is clear here is that’s it’s within the prerogative of the president to lower the threshold of refugee admissions.”
One effect of the order would be to further strain the refugee-processing system at its biggest point. “The bulk of the system and the biggest part of it are those countries like Lebanon, Turkey, which are taking in hundreds of thousands of refugees,” O’Keefe said. “When we don’t do our part, it’s tough for us to tell other countries to make the sacrifices we need to play their part. The risk of the system collapsing and of governments that are already strained not being willing to keep their doors open is very serious, and we’re very worried about that.”
In Syria, he added, “some people have been (refugees there) for five, six years. They’ve had the hope of resettlement in the United States as one of the things that keeps them going.”
Kim Pozniak, CRS’ communications director, spent a week in mid-February in Amman, Jordan, where untold thousands of refugees are living – two and three families at a time – in small apartments in the city.
“I’ve met with people that are worse off than they were three years ago (when she last visited), simply because they’ve started losing hope,” Pozniak told CNS. “One woman, for example, said they’re so bad off they’re considering moving back to Syria.” Pozniak said the woman’s sister, who still lives in Syria, told her “Look, even if it’s so bad that you have to eat dirt, don’t come back here.”
Even without a ban, the uncertainty can eat away at people, Pozniak said. “I talked with one 74-year-old woman who together with her son has been in the resettlement process in the United States. They had the interview with UN (High Commissioner for Refugees), the interview with the Embassy, had the iris scan taken, now they have no idea when they’ll be resettled. They’re never given an answer as to when, where, how, and that’s the really frustrating part – being in limbo and not knowing where you’re going to be next.”
A Pew Research Center poll released Feb. 27 found Catholics opposing the ban, 62 percent-36 percent. White Catholics were very narrowly in favor, 50 percent-49 percent, while Hispanic and other minority Catholics opposed the ban 81 percent-14 percent.
Members of black Protestant churches (81 percent) and religiously unaffiliated Americans (74 percent) also opposed the ban. Protestants overall supported the ban, 51 percent-46 percent, with 76 percent support from white evangelicals. The Pew survey interviewed 1,503 adults by phone Feb. 7-12.
(Follow Pattison on Twitter: @MeMarkPattison.)

Immigrant – detained after public appearance faces unclear future

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Pastors, attorneys, immigrants and immigrants’ advocates gathered at City Hall Wednesday, March 1, to express their concerns about recent immigration raids, seek dialogue with law enforcement representatives and invite the community at large to attend a forum to discuss the contributions immigrants make to Mississippi.
Immediately after the news conference, one of the immigrants who spoke at it was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

Daniela Vargas speaks at a press conference on the steps of the Jackson City Hall. Vargas spoke as a DACA recipient whose father and brother face possible deportation. Immediately after the news conference, federal officers took her into custody. (Photo by Tereza Ma.)

Daniela Vargas speaks at a press conference on the steps of the Jackson City Hall. Vargas spoke as a DACA recipient whose father and brother face possible deportation. Immediately after the news conference, federal officers took her into custody. (Photo by Tereza Ma.)

Daniela Vargas is a 22-year-old Argentine native, but America is the only home she has ever known. She was covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but those applications have to be renewed every two years. She reapplied late because she had trouble getting together the money for the application, so her coverage had lapsed. The car in which she was riding was pulled over by federal agents as she left.
This was not her first run-in with ICE. Agents arrested her father and brother at her home earlier this year while she hid in a closet. ICE agents eventually raided the house and detained her for a short time, but released her when she indicated that she had reapplied for DACA. Her father and brother are awaiting deportation hearings.
“When I was seven-years-old my parents sacrificed everything they had ever known to bring my brother and I into the country to establish a better lifestyle. Both my parents began working in poultry plants where most days the cold was unbearable,” she said at the news conference. “Knowing that they were making this sacrifice for us, I put in all my efforts into my education and my talents. I dream of being a university math professor, but now I am not so sure my dream will develop,” Vargas added.
Nathan Elmore represents Vargas. He said her case is a complicated one, but he knows ICE has discretion in its cases and he hopes agents will exercise it. Vargas, he pointed out, does not fall under the ‘priority deportations’ outlined by the Trump administration. She has no criminal record, she is eligible for a DACA renewal and she was not committing a crime when she was picked up.
Bishop Joseph Kopacz wrote a letter in support of Vargas saying, “Some have expressed grave concern at every level of government and society that DACA recipients may be especially vulnerable in the transition from one administration to the next, but President Trump has stated that he will honor the status of all DACA recipients. I would hope that local branches of our Immigration and Customs Service will uphold the letter and spirit of the law with respect to the legal status of DACA recipients.”
ICE executed a series of raids in the state Wednesday, Feb. 22, detaining 55 people, according to the Clarion-Ledger. The raids targeted Asian restaurants in Jackson, Flowood, Pearl and Meridian and officials said they were the result of a yearlong investigation and not part of any new effort to round up undocumented immigrants.
Elmore is also representing some of the people being detained in the restaurant raids. He said he has been searching the court database to find out if his clients have been charged or appeared before a judge, but even a week after the raid, he can find no record of them anywhere.
Elmore said the current atmosphere in the immigrant community is one of fear, especially among families with children. “This weekend me and several members of my law firm went to Morton, Mississippi, where we did an outreach event where we talked to people just like Daniela. These folks were scared. They’re worried that ‘what if I get picked up, who’s going to take care of my child?’ That was the number one question that we faced as we talked to these people … and that’s a hard question for me to answer for them,” he said.

Amelia McGowan, attorney for the Catholic Charities

Amelia McGowan, attorney for the Catholic Charities

Amelia McGowan, attorney for the Catholic Charities Migrant Resource Center, echoed that sentiment. “Often a topic that goes undiscussed (is that) many immigrants who come to the United States – documented or undocumented – do have U.S. citizen children, or perhaps who are not citizens, but who have lived their entire lives here in the United States. Forced immigration raids not only puts the children in immediate danger of potentially removing their parents, removing their caregivers from the United States, but it also places them in a constant state of fear, which can re-traumatize them if they have suffered a traumatic past from their home countries,” said McGowan.
Redemptorist Father Michael McAndrew agrees. He has been advocating for immigrant families across the U.S. for almost three decades. Today, he is part of a Redemptorist community in Greenwood, Miss., serving the Hispanic community throughout the Mississippi Delta. He pointed out that deportation is more complicated than it may seem when children are involved.
“Of course, immigration law states that citizen children can remain in this country, but the rights of children must protect more than just the children’s right to be here. A more important right of the child is to be raised by his or her parents when their parents are not abusive or doing harm to them,” said Father McAndrew.
The last speaker, Jim Evans, president of the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance (MIRA), brought the gospel to bear in his challenge to state leaders and members of the faith community. “The gospel of Jesus Christ speaks to these suffering in our midst – not as who they are but as who we are and how we attend to them don’t establish who they are, but it makes it clear and reveals who we are,” he said.
The news conference was organized by the Latin American Business Association, ONE Church and MIRA. The group still hopes to host a community forum to showcase the contributions immigrants make to Mississippi and open a dialogue with local law enforcement departments. The forum is set for Tuesday, April 11, at 6 p.m., at Fondren Church on State Street in Jackson.

Corned beef conundrum: Some dioceses give St. Patrick’s Day dispensation

By Carol Zimmermann
WASHINGTON (CNS) – When St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday, as it does about every seven years, the Lenten rule requiring Catholics to abstain from meat on Fridays collides with the long-held tradition of eating corned beef and cabbage.
The two occasions meet this year. March 17 marks the celebration of St. Patrick – known as the Apostle of Ireland for his years of missionary work there – and it also is a celebration of all things Irish and even green. This March 17, since it falls on a Friday in Lenten, also is a time of penitence.
The timing has not gone unnoticed by some U.S. bishops. Before Lent even started, many of them – including Bishop Joseph Kopacz of the Diocese of Jackson – issued dispensations for Catholics in their dioceses allowing them to eat meat on St. Patrick’s Day.
The dispensation does not take Catholics totally off the hook. Many bishops advised Catholics older than age 14, who are required to abstain from meat on Friday, to do an extra act of charity or penance in exchange for eating meat.
Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin, took it a step further. In a statement, he said Catholics should also “exercise due moderation and temperance in festivities and celebrations of the memorial of St. Patrick, in keeping with the solemnity and honor that is due to so great a saint and his tireless efforts to inspire holiness in the Christian faithful.”
He tempered that by also saying the day should “foster a joyful and reverent devotion to that great saint” and should also “honor the patrimony of the Irish people to whom he first preached the good news of salvation.”
As of Feb. 27, the following dioceses or archdioceses had announced giving the clear for Catholics to eat meat March 17: Jackson, Miss., Baltimore; New York; Milwaukee; St. Paul and Minneapolis; Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia; Omaha, Nebraska; and Jefferson City, Missouri.
The bishops primarily announced the one-day lifting of the church rule in statements posted on their diocesan websites.
Omaha Archbishop George J. Lucas granted a dispensation from the meat observance but those who eat meat on St. Patrick’s Day must abstain the next day, March 18.
New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan sent archdiocesan pastors a letter in late January notifying them of the dispensation and asking them to let their parishioners know about it.
Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki noted that abstaining from meat on Fridays in Lent is an “important dimension of the penitential nature of the season,” but he said Catholics in the archdiocese that day would not be required to give up meat “given the many celebrations that occur on this day,” which in the archdiocese also includes the ordination of two auxiliary bishops that afternoon.
Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis received a letter in late February from Susan Mulheron, chancellor of canonical affairs, saying the dispensation for St. Patrick’s Day had been issued by Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda after consulting archdiocesan leaders.
She said the archbishop considered past practice and present circumstances and decided the dispensation “would serve the common spiritual good.”
“As a general rule, a request for a dispensation from the obligation of abstinence on Fridays of Lent will not be considered unless some serious reason is present,” she wrote, adding that St. Patrick’s Day has “traditionally been an occasion for joy-filled celebrations in this archdiocese.”
Archbishop Hebda hinted he might grant the dispensation when he spoke at a Theology on Tap gathering Feb. 8 in St. Paul. When someone in the crowd asked him about the possibility of eating meat on St. Patrick’s Day, the archbishop asked for a show of hands of those who wanted to eat corned beef to honor St. Patrick.
“When you get a dispensation – and I think it’s coming – you should do penance on another occasion,” he told the crowd. “So, it’s like a get-out-of-jail-free card, but you have to pay sometime.”

Bishop, advocates oppose sanctuary cities bill

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – A bill that would keep agencies, cities and college campuses in Mississippi from offering sanctuary to unauthorized immigrants would not keep communities safe and goes against the Christian tenet of caring for those in need, said Bishop Joseph Kopacz of Jackson.
He issued a statement Feb. 15 opposing S.B. 2710, also known as the “sanctuary cities” bill, which passed the state Senate in a 32-16 vote Feb. 9. The bill goes to the state House for consideration.
The measure would prohibit cities and institutions of higher learning from declaring themselves sanctuary cities. There are currently no sanctuary cities in the state, although the city of Jackson proposed such a declaration last year.
“As Christians we are called to welcome the stranger and care for those in need. As citizens, we are called to keep our communities strong and safe. We feel that the so-called ‘sanctuary cities’ bill being debated right now in the Mississippi Legislature damages both of those efforts,” wrote Bishop Kopacz.
In a sanctuary city, local law enforcement would not be forced to act as federal immigration agents, like the officers of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In fact, they would be prohibited from asking a person they detained about his or her immigration status. S.B. 2710 would prohibit cities from enacting sanctuary policies.
The bill’s opening statement says it would apply to entities such as “a state agency, department, political subdivision of this state, county, municipality, university, college, community college or junior college, or any agent, employee or officer thereof.”
Immigrant advocates said the bill raises several concerns.
Amelia McGowan, an immigration attorney for the Catholic Charities Migrant Resource Center based in Jackson, said the vague language, especially in relation to schools, opens up a number of potential problems.
“The first provision is potentially extremely dangerous. It could allow any state official, or anyone working for the state government to report any individual to federal immigration authorities. In other words, it prevents the state and local agencies from prohibiting its employees from reporting an individual to ICE,” said McGowan in an email to the Mississippi Catholic, newspaper of the Jackson Diocese.
“That means, undocumented – or suspected undocumented – individuals seeking services in any state or local agency – courts, police protection, K-12 education, higher education, state hospital, state health and mental health agencies – could be reported to ICE by a disgruntled employee,” McGowan explained.
It also means an agency “could not prohibit its employees from doing so,” she continued. “Now, presumably that person may be protected in some cases by privacy laws, but I am afraid that this provision would prevent individuals from seeking state services, which include reporting violent crimes to the police.”
According to Christy Williams, an attorney at the headquarters of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, known as CLINIC, in Silver Spring, Maryland, the provision also opens up municipalities to potential liability. A school employee who discloses a student’s immigration information could be violating federal privacy laws and the school could be held liable.
If any officer reports a person they suspect is in the country without legal permission but that person turns out to have a valid legal status, the local agency can be sued. CLINIC highlighted one example from Allentown, Pennsylvania, when officers arrested a U.S. citizen for alleged drug crimes.
“He had both his driver’s license and Social Security card with him at the time of the arrest and was eventually found innocent,” according to a CLINIC document about sanctuary cities. “During his time in custody, the police called ICE based on the presumption that, because of his race, he was undocumented.
“Despite being documented, the citizen was held for three days after posting bail based on an ICE detainer. He was released only after an ICE agent interrogated him and confirmed his citizenship. The U.S. citizen sued local and county officials in 3rd District Federal Court, leading to verdicts in his favor and settlement costs totaling nearly $150,000,” the document said.
When a local agency reports someone to ICE, the federal agents may ask the local agency to detain the suspect. The local agency has to absorb the cost of housing, feeding and caring for the person until ICE can process the case. That money is rarely reimbursed to state and local agencies.
Critics of the Mississippi bill say that because it is vague, it also could erode the relationship first responders have with their communities. If immigrants, even those in the country legally, believe police officers, medical personnel or firefighters are going to report them to immigration officials, they may hesitate to call for much-needed help.
McGowan said she thinks if the bill becomes law, it “would have a chilling effect on individuals seeking state services” such as medical care, mental health care and police protection,” and would negatively affect immigrants’ educational opportunities. She also thinks it would subject victims of violent crimes and/or abuse “to greater danger.”
President Donald Trump has pledged to strip federal funds from jurisdictions that declare themselves “sanctuary cities.”
“We urge lawmakers and advocates to oppose S.B. 2710,” Bishop Kopacz said in his statement. “We will, as a Catholic community, continue to work with immigrants and refugees – welcoming their contributions to our community and culture – even as we pray for a just solution to the challenges of immigration and security.”
(Editor’s note: the full text of the statement is available here.)

The 10 best movies and family films of 2016

By John Mulderig
NEW YORK (CNS) –The quality of the best Hollywood films was higher in 2016 than in some recent years. But the outstanding movies of the 12 months just past tended to deal with challenging subject matter. Assassination, the exactions of combat, even religious repression enforced through torture were all dealt with in a skillful way – but also in a manner not likely to appeal to the casual moviegoer.
Following are the Media Review Office of Catholic News Service’s top 10 movies overall and top 10 family films of 2016. The selections in each category are listed in alphabetical order.
Unless otherwise noted, the Catholic News Service classification for films on the first list is A-III – adults, and the Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 – parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. For movies on the family list, except as indicated, the CNS classification is A-II – adults and adolescents, and the MPAA rating is PG – parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
The top 10 overall:
– Amy Adams delivers an excellent performance as an American linguist trying to communicate with aliens in the gripping and unusually intimate science-fiction drama “Arrival.” Director Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of a short story by Ted Chiang finds profundity on a human scale as well as in the cosmos.
– Suffering mingles with brutal honesty and joy in unexpected moments in the first screen version of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1983 play “Fences.” Director Denzel Washington stars as an embittered Pittsburgh garbage collector while Viola Davis plays his compassionate and understanding wife, the moral center of this family drama.
– The extraordinary heroism of World War II Army medic Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield), a committed Christian and conscientious objector who refused to bear arms but was nonetheless eager to serve his country, is vividly realized in the inspiring, though bloody, fact-based drama “Hacksaw Ridge,” directed by Mel Gibson (L – limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling; R – restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian).
– “Hell or High Water” is the morally intricate tale of two brothers (Ben Foster and Chris Pine) who go on a bank-robbing spree to save their family farm. Their cat-and-mouse game with a duo of Texas Rangers (Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham) has tragic consequences in director David Mackenzie’s hardscrabble story of exploitation and desperation (L; R).
– Director Theodore Melfi successfully re-creates the tension of the Cold War space race and the struggles of the civil rights era in the appealing fact-based drama “Hidden Figures.” Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae star as extraordinarily gifted mathematicians working for NASA, while Kevin Costner plays Henson’s hard-driving boss (PG – parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children).
– Luminescent and respectful of religion, director Anne Fontaine’s drama “The Innocents,” about a fictional Benedictine convent in post-World War II Poland, gently explores the conflicts between duty to the living and the shattered faith that can result from acts of depravity. Lou de Laage stars as a French Red Cross doctor.
– Director Pablo Larrain’s fact-based historical drama “Jackie” features a mesmerizing performance by Natalie Portman as Jacqueline Kennedy, reflecting on loss while building the Camelot myth in the weeks following her husband’s (Caspar Phillipson) 1963 assassination. Catholic viewers will find her conversations with a priest (John Hurt) of particular interest (R).
– The incredible true story of Saroo Brierley (Dev Patel) and his 20-year odyssey to locate his birth mother (Priyanka Bose), is retold in the uplifting and emotional drama “Lion,” directed by Garth Davis. A celebration of family, the movie also sends a strong pro-life message by underscoring the joys and merits of adoption.
– “Silence” is director and co-writer Martin Scorsese’s dramatically powerful but theologically complex adaptation of Catholic author Shusaku Endo’s 1966 fact-based historical novel about two 17th-century Jesuit missionaries (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) facing persecution in Japan. Often visually striking, the film is also deeply thought provoking (L; R).
-– In “Sully,” director Clint Eastwood crafts a satisfying profile of US Airways pilot Capt. Chesley Sullenberger (Tom Hanks), whose 2009 feat in landing his crippled plane on the Hudson

Arron Eckhart and Tom Hanks star in a scene from the movie "Sully." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. (CNS photo/Warner Bros.) See MOVIE-REVIEW-SULLY (EMBARGOED) Sept. 8, 2016.

Arron Eckhart and Tom Hanks star in a scene from the movie “Sully.” The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. (CNS photo/Warner Bros.) See MOVIE-REVIEW-SULLY (EMBARGOED) Sept. 8, 2016.

River gained him instant fame. What emerges is the portrait of a morally deep-rooted and honorable man with a heartfelt concern for those in his charge.
The top 10 family films:
– “Finding Dory,” writer-director Andrew Stanton’s dandy animated sequel to 2003’s “Finding Nemo” sets that film’s trio of main characters (voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks and Hayden Rolence) on another epic journey. Their adventure conveys life lessons about family loyalty, teamwork and the proper balance between courage and caution (A-I – general patronage).
– Director Jon Favreau’s adaptation of British author Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” follows the exploits of a “man-cub” (Neel Sethi) raised by animals and offers delightful, good-natured, heartfelt entertainment for the entire family, the most easily frightened tots possibly excepted.
– A captivating animated fable about a Japanese street urchin (voice of Art Parkinson) whose troubled family history launches him on a quest for a magical set of armor, director Travis Knight’s “ ” features rich visuals and deep emotional appeal.

Characters are shown in a scene from the animated movie "Moana." The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. (CNS photo/Disney) See MOVIE-REVIEW-MOANA-(EMBARGOED) Nov. 22, 2016.

Characters are shown in a scene from the animated movie “Moana.” The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. (CNS photo/Disney) See MOVIE-REVIEW-MOANA-(EMBARGOED) Nov. 22, 2016.

– The eponymous heroine of Disney’s 56th animated film, “Moana” is a spunky Polynesian princess (voice of Auli’i Cravalho) who joins forces with a demigod (voice of Dwayne Johnson) to vanquish evil. Directors Ron Clements and John Musker’s entertaining romp offers good lessons about family, friendship and the need to be responsible.
– The classic boy-and-his-dog story assumes outsized proportions in the generally warmhearted fantasy adventure “Pete’s Dragon,” a “reimagining” of the 1977 Disney musical. This very tall tale about an orphaned toddler (Levi Alexander) raised by a friendly green dragon is directed at a gentle pace by David Lowery with pleasantly fanciful results.
– A glorious drama that applies the traditional formula of an uplifting sports film to the real-life story of Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga), “Queen of Katwe” – director Mira Nair’s adaptation of Tim Crothers’ book – then goes in unexpected directions. The result is a remarkably inspirational movie.
– Track and field legend Jesse Owens (Stephan James), whose performance at the 1936 Berlin Olympics dealt a devastating blow to Nazism, is the focus of “Race.” Director Stephen Hopkins’ entertaining film provides a valuable history lesson for adolescents as well as their parents (PG-13).– Interstellar derring-do is the order of the day in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” Director Gareth Edwards’ rousing prequel to the 1977 kickoff of the saga stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk as gallant rebels fighting the evil Empire (PG-13).

Adam Greaves-Neal stars in a scene from the movie "The Young Messiah." The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. (CNS photo/Focus) See YOUNG-MESSIAH-(EMBARGOED) March 8, 2016.

Adam Greaves-Neal stars in a scene from the movie “The Young Messiah.” The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. (CNS photo/Focus) See YOUNG-MESSIAH-(EMBARGOED) March 8, 2016.

– “The Young Messiah,” director and co-writer Cyrus Nowrasteh’s engaging screen version of Anne Rice’s novel “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt,” remains faithful to Scripture even as it speculates about the childhood of Jesus (Adam Greaves-Neal). This sensitive exploration of the mystery of the Incarnation will intrigue and entertain viewers of most ages (PG-13)
– Anthropomorphism runs amok in the animated comedy-adventure “Zootopia.” Directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore, together with co-director Jared Bush, promote tolerance, hard work and optimism as they tell the story of a rabbit police rookie (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin) and her battle to win the respect of her co-workers.

National and World News

NATION
WASHINGTON (CNS) – Michael Novak, a Catholic philosopher, theologian and author who was highly regarded for his religious scholarship and intellectual independence, died Feb. 17 at his home in Washington. He was 83. His daughter Jana Novak told The Washington Post the cause of death was complications from colon cancer. No funeral arrangements were announced. Since last August, Novak had been a faculty member of The Catholic University of America’s Tim and Steph Busch School of Business and Economics in Washington. He joined the business school’s Arthur and Carlyse Ciocca Center for Principled Entrepreneurship last year as a distinguished visiting fellow. He taught special topics in management and gave a series of lectures on campus on the topic of human ecology.

Novak studied at Catholic University in 1958 and 1959 and had lectured at the university several times prior to last year’s appointment. John Garvey, the university’s president, remembered him as “a man of great intellectual honesty. Unlike some scholars, Michael Novak made it a point to reflect on new and different topics, always with a fresh and dynamic perspective,” Garvey said in a statement. “We are immensely grateful that he could end his academic life as he began it, as a member of our community.”

Religious sisters hand beads to a man and child Feb. 19 from the Krewe of Femme Fatale float during a parade in New Orleans. Twenty Sisters of the Holy Family boarded the float, the first time in Mardi Gras history that a women's religious congregation participated as a group on a Carnival float. Over their habits they wore a T-shirt honoring Mother Henriette Delille, who founded their congregation in 1842. (CNS photo/Christine Bordelon, The Clarion Herald) See NEW-ORLEANS-PARADE-SISTERS Feb. 8, 2017.

Religious sisters hand beads to a man and child Feb. 19 from the Krewe of Femme Fatale float during a parade in New Orleans. Twenty Sisters of the Holy Family boarded the float, the first time in Mardi Gras history that a women’s religious congregation participated as a group on a Carnival float. Over their habits they wore a T-shirt honoring Mother Henriette Delille, who founded their congregation in 1842. (CNS photo/Christine Bordelon, The Clarion Herald) See NEW-ORLEANS-PARADE-SISTERS Feb. 8, 2017.

NEW ORLEANS (CNS) – For the past 50 years, Patti Gallagher Mansfield has kept the Champion Wiremaster stenographer’s notebook, 5-by-8 inches, safely tucked away among her most cherished, sacred items in her dresser drawer. The notebook has 80 ruled pages. It cost 25 cents. One was given to each of the 25 students from Duquesne University and La Roche College who attended a weekend retreat in February 1967 at The Ark and The Dove Retreat House just outside of Pittsburgh.

Between the slightly faded, tan covers are page after page of Mansfield’s handwritten reflections in blue ballpoint pen of the mysterious things that happened on that three-day retreat, a weekend that ultimately changed the course of the Catholic Church worldwide.

“Who would have ever imagined – 80 pages, Patti Gallagher – that what I would record in this notebook would have any significance to over 120 million Catholics all over the world?” Mansfield, now 70, said. “It is amazing.” The weekend – now called the “Duquesne Weekend” – is acknowledged as the birth of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement in the United States, which has spread throughout the world. The Charismatic Renewal centers on the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” in which God’s Spirit renews and fills a person with grace. Mansfield talks about releasing the graces already conferred through baptism and confirmation.

WORLD
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (CNS) – Archbishop J. Michael Miller of Vancouver called on Catholics to respond to a drug overdose crisis that had been sweeping the city, “cutting across every segment of society, devastating families and communities.” In a pastoral letter released Feb. 16, Archbishop Miller said that following Jesus’ teaching would require Catholics to “scrutinize the sign of the times” and, in Vancouver, “these signs are calling the church to address today’s lethal crisis of drug overdoses.” A report released by the British Columbia Coroners Service revealed that 914 people died of illicit drug overdoses in 2016; those statistics prompted the provincial government to declare a public health emergency. That number represented an 80 percent increase in overdose deaths from the previous year. Archbishop Miller said three factors contributed to the overdose crisis: overprescription of opioid painkillers, social isolation and mental illness.

OXFORD, England (CNS) – Church leaders and organizations in Africa, Europe and the United States said it would be disastrous if U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order telling companies they no longer had to disclose whether their firms use “conflict minerals” from Congo. Western firms have been accused of working with violent gangs in Congo to obtain minerals used for producing mobile phones, laptops and other consumer objects, and of allowing trade in resources to perpetuate human rights violations.
In the United States, the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ International Policy Committee wrote the acting head of the National Security Council urging Trump not to suspend the rules related to Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act. “Congolese die every day in the illegal mines and at the hands of the armed groups that destroy communities in order to expel them from potential mining sites,” wrote Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, committee chairman.
“The estimated death toll in the Congo is the highest since the end of World War II. The international community, including our own nation, nongovernmental agencies and the church, provides emergency assistance to displaced and traumatized persons and families – assistance that has real financial costs that do not appear on the balance sheets of corporations.”

Obispo, defensores oponen al proyecto de ley de “Ciudades Sanctuarias”

Por Maureen Smith
JACKSON – El obispo Joseph Kopacz dio una declaración el miércoles, 15 de febrero, en contra de la SB 2710, conocida como proyecto de ley de “ciudades sanctuarias”. El proyecto de ley prohíbe que las ciudades y las instituciones de educación superiores se declaren “ciudades santuarias”. Actualmente no hay ciudades santuarias en el estado, aunque la ciudad de Jackson propuso tal declaración el año pasado.
“Como cristianos estamos llamados a dar la bienvenida al extranjero y a cuidar a los necesitados. Como ciudadanos, estamos llamados a mantener nuestras comunidades fuertes y seguras. Sentimos que el proyecto de ley, “Ciudades Sanctuarias” (SB 2710) que se debate actualmente en la legislatura de Mississippi daña ambos esfuerzos”, escribió el obispo Kopacz. (Ver la barra en la pagina 2 para la declaración completa)
En una ciudad santuaria, la policía local no estaría obligada a actuar como funcionarios federales de inmigración (ICE). De hecho, estarían prohibidos preguntarle a una persona a la que detuvieron acerca de su estatus migratorio. SB 2710 prohibiría a las ciudades promulgar normas de santuarios. La medida suscita varias preocupaciones.
Su declaración inicial describe a quién se aplicará este proyecto de ley, incluyendo “una agencia estatal, departamento, subdivisión política del estado, condado, municipio, universidad, colegio o cualquier agente, empleado o funcionario del mismo”.
Amelia McGowan, abogada de inmigración del Centro de Recursos para Migrantes de las Caridades Católicas, explicó cómo el lenguaje vago, especialmente en relación con las escuelas, abre una serie de problemas potenciales. “La primera disposición es potencialmente extremadamente peligrosa. Podría permitir que cualquier funcionario estatal, o cualquiera que trabaje para el gobierno estatal, reporte a individuos a las autoridades federales de inmigración. En otras palabras, impide que el estado y las agencias locales de prohibir a sus empleados de reportar a una persona a ICE”, dijo McGowan en un correo electrónico a Mississippi Catholic. “Esto significa que los indocumentados – o indocumentados sospechosos – que buscan servicios en cualquier agencia estatal o local – cortes, protección policial, educación K-12, educación superior, hospital estatal, salud estatal y agencias de salud mental- podrían ser reportados a ICE por un empleado descontento, y esa agencia no podía prohibir a sus empleados hacerlo.
Ahora, presumiblemente, esa persona puede estar protegida en algunos casos por leyes de privacidad, pero temo que esta disposición impida que las personas busquen servicios estatales, que incluyen reportar crímenes violentos a la policía”, continuó.
Según Christy Williams, abogada en la sede nacional de CLINIC, la disposición también abre a los municipios a la responsabilidad potencial. Un empleado de la escuela que revele la información de inmigración de un estudiante podría estar violando las leyes federales de privacidad y la escuela podría ser considerada responsable.
Si un oficial informa a una persona que sospecha que es indocumentada, pero la persona resulta tener un estatus legal válido, la agencia local puede ser demandada. CLINIC destacó un ejemplo de Pennsylvania cuando oficiales arrestaron a un ciudadano estadounidense por presuntos delitos relacionados con drogas.
“Tenía su licencia de conducir y la tarjeta de seguridad social con él y fue finalmente encontrado inocente. Durante su tiempo bajo custodia, la policía llamó a ICE basado en la presunción que, debido a su raza, él era indocumentado. A pesar de estar documentado, el ciudadano fue retenido por 3 días después de publicar la fianza basada en un detenedor de ICE. Fue puesto en libertad sólo después de que un agente ICE lo interrogó y confirmó su ciudadanía. El ciudadano estadounidense demandó a los funcionarios locales en el Corte Federal del 3er Distrito, lo que llevó a veredictos en su favor y costos de asentamiento por un total de $ 150,000.”
La carga no es el único costo potencial. Cuando una agencia local reporta a alguien a ICE, los agentes federales pueden pedir a la agencia local que detenga al sospechoso. La agencia local tiene que absorber el costo de la vivienda, la alimentación y el cuidado de la persona hasta que ICE pueda procesar el caso. Ese dinero rara vez se reembolsa a las agencias estatales y locales.
La vaguedad de este proyecto de ley también podría dañar la relación que los primeros respondedores tienen con sus comunidades. Si los inmigrantes, incluso los que están aquí legalmente, creen que los oficiales de policía, personal médico o bomberos van a denunciarlos a los funcionarios de inmigración, estas poblaciones, ya vulnerables, pueden dudar en pedir ayuda.
“Creo que este proyecto de ley tendría un efecto escalofriante para las personas que buscan servicios como atención médica, atención de salud mental, educación, protección policial, entre otros”, dijo McGowan.
La segunda disposición del SB 2710, que prohíbe las agencias de otorgar el “derecho a la presencia legal” parece innecesario para McGowan. Los agentes federales deben hacer cumplir las leyes federales. Estas son las leyes que se relacionan con el estatus migratorio de una persona para que una agencia local no pueda otorgar tal status. Este proyecto de ley proscribe lo que ya no es legal.
El obispo Kopacz cerró su declaración con una llamada a acción. “Instamos a los legisladores y defensores a oponerse a la SB 2710. Nosotros, como comunidad católica, continuaremos trabajando con inmigrantes y refugiados – dando la bienvenida a sus contribuciones a nuestra comunidad y cultura – mientras oramos por una solución justa a los desafíos de la inmigración y la seguridad.”