Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
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Sisters of Providence take stand for comprehensive immigration reform
the Inland Register
(From the September 17, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)
The Mother Joseph Province of the Sisters of Providence adopted a corporate stance in favor of comprehensive immigration reform at their Provincial Chapter in August.
The intergenerational, intercultural and international congregation took the action “in response to the current crisis of refugees coming into our country from homelands racked by social unrest and extreme danger to their lives.”
The Sisters have experienced the scope of the crisis and the resulting trauma it inflicts on families firsthand: Two Sisters assisted women and children who flooded the border between the United States and Mexico, fleeing from the threat of violence in Central American countries last year. Other Sisters administer a scholarship program in El Salvador that for two decades has given young people in the Bajo Lempa region of the Usulutan an alternative to joining gangs or becoming gang victims.
“Our corporate stance affirms our solidarity with the refugees and immigrants and is in keeping with our pursuit of social justice for the poor and vulnerable,” said Providence Sister Judith Desmarais, Provincial Superior. “Like our first corporate stance, in opposition to the death penalty, this action is a result of prayer, discernment and dialogue, and will be part of our prayer and action in the future.”
The corporate stance says the Sisters of Providence support comprehensive immigration reform that:
• Outlines an earned legalization program that would allow foreign nationals living in the United States to apply to adjust their status to obtain lawful permanent residence and eventually full citizenship;
• Supports a future worker program to permit foreign-born workers to enter the country safely and legally and includes workplace protections and living wages;
• Safeguards against the displacement of U.S. workers;
• Changes family-based immigration to increase the number of family visas and reduces waiting times for family reunification;
• Restores due process rights taken away by the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act;
• Addresses the root causes of migration in sending countries, including poverty, civil warfare and lawlessness; and
• Focuses law enforcement on those who truly threaten public safety, e.g., drug and human traffickers, smugglers and would-be terrorists, in a targeted, proportional and humane manner.
The foundation for the corporate stance is rooted in the Sisters of Providence Constitutions, No. 26: “Attention to the needs of the poor and to situations of injustice which oppress them arouses in us a concern for the demands of social justice. We therefore consider it a duty to promote human dignity by acts of solidarity with persons and groups, sharing what we have with them even to the point of risking our own security.”
A committee has been actively working on this initiative for a few years. The committee members are Providence Sisters Charlene Hudon, Chauncey Boyle, and Charlotte Van Dyke, working with Kathryn Kurtz, a Providence Peace Community member.
Implementation of the corporate stance, including education and advocacy initiatives, will be discussed by the Sisters in their local communities.
(More information is available in the Social Justice section of the Providence Sisters’ web site: www.sistersofprovidence.net)
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