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Peace & Justice Community
hand holding torch in front of a globe Our Mission: As members of St. Francis Parish, we embrace the parish mission, aspiring to be witnesses and prophets advocating for justice in the world. We work to foster a Franciscan awareness of and response to issues of peace, human dignity, and integrity of creation through education and advocacy. We nonviolently challenge ourselves and others to act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with God.

The Peace & Justice Committee sponsors a gospel reflection/discussion series Sundays after 9:30 a.m. Mass in Parlor 1 in the Parish Center.

For more information, please contact Mary at mpbmyrick@yahoo.com or
(916) 536-9753 or Richard (RichardH@stfrancisparish.com or 443-8084 x114).

Franciscan Pathways of Justice: Stop Human Trafficking
Stop Human TraffickingOn February 5, 2015 our Franciscan Pathways of Justice sponsored a presentation on the heinous crime of human trafficking. Also known as "modern day slavery," human trafficking is a global epidemic of selling and using people for profit. Globally, 2.5 million are enslaved in this way; 70% are women, and 50% are children. Here in the United States, nearly one million people are enslaved. These are staggering numbers, and to help fight this horrendous crime against human beings, we must learn to recognize it when we see it. It is hidden in plain sight, and working out in the open.

How Serious Is It?

Myth: Human trafficking is just another word for prostitution.
Fact: 4.5 million people are trafficked into sex work each year.

Myth: Human trafficking isn't an issue in the United States.
Fact: 100,000 U.S. citizens are exploited through sex trafficking each year!

Myth: Only adults are trafficked.
Fact: The average age of children trafficked into the U.S. sex trade is 12-14 years.

"Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. We must unite our efforts to free victims and stop this crime that's become ever more aggressive, that threatens not just individuals, but the foundational values of society, families and communities."—The Pope Francis Chronicles Vatican City: December 12, 2013.

We can help stop this terrible crime against humanity by informing ourselves and being aware and present to what we see. We can all take action! Resources we can all access:

The Polaris Project: National Hot Line: 1-888-373-7888 (serves to eradicate human trafficking)

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB): 1-202-541-3757

To learn more about human trafficking and how to recognize it:

Explore these web sites:

Department of Homeland Security: Human Trafficking

Sacramento Rescue and Restore

Office of Refugee Settlement: Anti-Trafficking in Persons

Polaris Project

The date for our next presentation at St. Francis on human trafficking will be announced soon. Contact Richard for more Information: RichardH@stfrancisparish.com or 443-8084 x114).

Franciscan Pathways of Justice: Immigration Reform
Franciscan Pathway of Justice If you were unable to attend our recent Franciscan Pathways of Justice presentation on Immigration Reform, guest Presenter Diane Mahoney addressed 7 questions. Here is one, with a summary of her answer.

 

Question 1: Who are the immigrants?

It is very common to have "mixed" family groups. As an example: Dad is a Lawful Permanent Resident; Mom is undocumented. Due to Dad's status, the children are U.S. citizens. Mom must return to her country of origin for five years before she can apply for citizenship. Does the family see that as realistic? Is that really humanitarian? How would that affect the children?

The "DREAMERS" are young people who were brought here as babies or small children and grew up and were educated in the U.S. Reaching adulthood, they have no resident status, so they cannot work or drive legally, nor do they have access to scholarships for higher education.

And then there are the men and women who have come here to escape extreme poverty at home. They take jobs that U.S. citizens do not want (field work, factory jobs, etc.). Part, if not most, of the money they make is sent home to help support their families.

These are but a few examples of who our immigrants are. President Obama's immigration reform program is a temporary fix. It would, however, give undocumented immigrants work authorization and a promise that they would not be deported. It would begin to define the features that are the face of those who are now moving through our lives anonymously.

Question 2: Why are there 11 million undocumented immigrants?

The answer to this question is rooted in the 1986 Immigration Reform Act which made it illegal to hire anyone without legal status or permission to work. This put a hugh burden on employers to check legal status, and many chose not to. There was also very weak enforcement by the Dept. of Immigration.

More than half of those who are undocumented are visa "overstays." They have entered the U.S. legally as a student or visitor, but then remained when the visa expired. There has been very little follow up or enforcement to prevent that number from growing.

"God will judge us on the basis of how we treated the most needy."—Pope Francis, July 8, 2013

"For I was a stranger and you welcomed me."Mt. 25:35

Question 3: Why don't they "get in line" and apply to come here legally?

Which line? The current status of undocumented immigrants varies; consequently, the process and timeline for legalization varies. For instance, undocumented siblings of United States Citizens have a 20-year-long line, while there is no line at all for spouses of United States Citizens.

Moreover, there are only a limited number of visas, so the demand outweighs the supply. This creates huge backlogs and long waits. Some have been waiting 20 years and more!

Question 4: What will the Senate's Immigration Reform Bill do?

  • Create a clearer path to citizenship.

  • Allow the undocumented in the U.S. to apply for registered provisional immigrant (RPI) status. After 10 years in RPI status they can apply for a green card and pay a fine. After another 3 years, they can apply for naturalization.

  • Allow for more qualified workers to get green cards. Will create a new temporary worker category so they can work in the US and return home in the off season.

  • Create a faster path to citizenship for DREAMers. They can apply for a green card after 5 years in RPI status, and then they can apply for naturalization.

    "God, you always journey with us, and especially with our most vulnerable brothers and sisters. Grand them acceptance, respect, and a path to citizenship."

Question 5: What will Immigration Reform cost?

  • Legalization will be self supporting through fines and application fees.

  • Fines: $500 to file; $1000 for green card processing; $1070 to apply for green card.

  • Money appropriated will be for border security.

  • Immigrants will not be eligible for any federal benefits that are available to US Citizens, and immigrants will have to pay any back taxes owing in order to qualify for the program and will pay taxes into the future.

Prayer for Migrants and Refugees

"Grant us the grace to welcome immigrants and refugees with Christian hospitality, so that these sisters and brothers of ours may find acceptance and understanding on their journey."

Question 6: What are the prospects of a bill passing the House?

Not very good.

• Both the Senate and the House make decision based on a wish for re-election.

• The House Speaker says that he will not bring the Senate bill to a vote at all.

• There is extreme resistance in the House to any "path to citizenship" for those here illegally.

Prayer for Immigration Reform

"Help all members of Congress to realize their responsibility to work for the common good; help them to grow in wisdom and compassion as they shape a just and humane comprehensive immigration reform bill. Spirit of Wisdom, enlighten them as they consider this issue."

For a list of resources on this and other aspects of immigration reform, contact Richard (RichardH@stfrancisparish.com or 443-8084 x114).

Statement of California Bishops on the Transport of Displaced Migrant Children and Families to California

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