U.S. Federation Statements and Actions on Immigration
Sisters of St. Joseph and their partners across the Federation are actively working on migration. Using the knowledge and experience of those working on the margins, we use our collective voice through the Federation to speak on immigration issues. Learn more about the Sisters of St. Joseph and the collective statements we have made on behalf of our immigrant brothers and sisters throughout the years:
- January 2021: U.S. Federation Signs Onto Letter to President Biden and HHS Secretary-Designate Becerra Requesting They Restore ACA Access to DACA Recipients
- August 2020: The U.S. Federation endorses the 2021 Immigration Action Plan
- September 2019: Sisters of St. Joseph Participate in Act of Nonviolent Civil Disobedience for Immigrant Children at Catholic Day of Action Event in Newark
- August 2019: U.S. Federation Resolves to Create Communion at the Intersection of Racism, Migration, and Climate Crisis
- October 2018: U.S. Federation Calls for the Welcome and Humane Treatment of Arriving Migrants
- September 2018: U.S. Federation Calls for the Protection of Immigrants
- June 2018: U.S. Federation Statement on Travel Ban
- June 2018: U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph Leadership Council Decries Human Rights Violations Perpetrated by the Trump Administration at the U.S. Border
- May 2018: U.S. Federation Statement on Ending TPS Status for HonduransStatement on Ending TPS Status for Hondurans
- May 2016: U.S. Federation Statement on Human Rights for Farm Workers
- November 2014: Congregations of St. Joseph NGO at the UN Statement on Migration Submitted to the United Nations
- August 2014: U.S. Federation Statement on Unaccompanied Minors Crossing the Border
- June 2012: U.S. Federation Statement on Just and Comprehensive Immigration Policy
Grassroots Actions for Congregations
Recognizing our power in numbers, we are encouraging all of our congregations to consider actions they can take in their own community. Below is a list of resources to help plan prayer services, public witnesses, and to prayerfully consider accompanying our immigrant brother and sisters to their ICE meetings.
- Link to "Home," a Refugee Poem by Warsan Shire
- Prayer Service from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston
- Prayer Service from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Philadelphia
- Prayer for Children Who Have Been Taken into U.S. Border Custody from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange
- Catholic Day of Action Prayer Service for Immigrant Children (sent out by the Justice Conference of Women Religious)
Congregations have turned to weekly Public Witnesses, both done individually and joined with interfaith networks. Maria Elena Perales, justice director for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, encourages those considering public witnesses to invite other groups of sisters and other people of faith to these events. She also encourages contacting local media and inviting them to attend the events to draw even more attention to the cause. Their events typically last an hour, and they distribute signs, assign folks to lead the prayers, use a bullhorn to welcome folks, give a brief overview/update on what is going on then start with the prayer, followed by instructions about where people should walk/stand. They then start the chant they sing while walking to the designated location. At the end, they close with a prayer. Perales notes that setting up chairs for elderly sisters is a great way to get the entire community involved.
Below is a sample poster that the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange use for their public witnesses.
One tangible way people can get involved is by accompanying individuals during their check-ins with ICE. Accompaniment programs can make a real difference and has led to stopping deportations, reducing bond fees, and keep families together. We've included some organizations that organize accompaniment programs. Consider contacting your local immigration coalition to see if they offer similar programs.
- Shareable Social Media Graphic
- Prayer for Accompaniment from Unitarian Universalist Association
- Reflection on Accompaniment from Sr. Kathleen Crowley (Carondelet-St. Louis)
- New Sanctuary Coalition NYC Accompaniment Program
- New Sanctuary Coalition NYC "Short-Term Sanctuary'
- Pioneer Valley Workers Center's 'Sanctuary in the Streets' (Massachusetts)
- St. Louis Interfaith Committee on Latin America's Accompaniment Project
- New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia