As people of faith and a nation of immigrants, we are called to love our neighbor. Immigrants and refugees are part of the fabric of our society and members of our churches and our communities.
Basic morality demands that people have the right to migrate to sustain their lives and the lives of their families. Every person, no matter where they were born, has an equal right to receive from the earth what is necessary for life.
In March 2022, NETWORK Lobby and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) launched Catholics Against Racism in Immigration (CARI), a new initiative and task force to build Catholic voices to oppose systemic racism in the U.S. immigration system. Learn more!
Our nation’s immigration system is unjust and outdated. Now, immigrants and asylum seekers are villainized and scapegoated by an Administration intent on advancing white supremacy. Congress must enact policies to reunite families, provide real opportunities for undocumented immigrants to apply for citizenship, welcome asylum seekers, and grow compassion in our communities.
NETWORK Advocates for Federal Policies That:
Repair our broken immigration system, including a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and protection of family unity.
Despite many attempted proposals, bills, and votes for immigration reform in the past decade, none have become law. Repairing our nation’s broken immigration system requires acknowledging the positive contributions of undocumented immigrants currently residing in the U.S. and providing a real pathway for them to apply for citizenship. The United States must also provide opportunities for new immigrants to enter our country through family-based visas, humane guestworker programs, and other visa-based systems based on contemporary circumstances rather than arbitrary allotments.
Utilize alternatives to detention and increases safety measures for migrants.
We must end the incarceration of immigrants by halting family detention, reducing the use of other immigration detention and, where necessary, promoting community-based alternatives to detention. The U.S. detention system is rife with unjust treatment of migrants, including violations of due process; verbal, physical, sexual, and psychological abuse; and inhumane living conditions that lead to migrant deaths.
Alternatives to detention are more humane and restore dignity and humanity to immigrants, rather than stripping them of basic human rights. They are safer, less expensive, and more effective at ensuring compliance with government-imposed requirements. These alternatives do not include for-profit private prisons, which in turn use their political power to further expand detention for financial gain.
The U.S. must strengthen oversight of all immigrant enforcement agencies in order to protect the health and well-being of immigrants and refugees. We must take steps to end family separation, the incarceration of families, and the incarceration of children.
Uphold the legal rights of refugees and asylum seekers and respect border communities.
Human rights crises throughout the world have caused people to leave their homes in search of respite from violence and oppression. Under U.S. and international law, the United States is required to accept refugees and asylum seekers. However, U.S. political leaders prioritize Christian refugees from Muslim majority countries while attempting to bar asylum seekers from Mexico and Central American countries.
NETWORK strongly believes in protecting the rights of refugees and asylum seekers regardless of religion or country of origin. U.S. policy must not create barriers to prevent people from seeking safety. The U.S. must immediately end the “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP) which force tens of thousands of people to languish in unsafe locations in Mexico as they wait for U.S. court dates. The U.S. must ensure refugees and asylum seekers receive due process. Finally, U.S. border policy must be established in cooperation with border communities to ensure all individuals are treated with dignity and respect.
Identify and address the root causes of migration.
Many factors lead migrants to leave their homes in search of a better life for themselves or their families. These root causes range from gang- and organized crime-related violence, corrupt and abusive police forces, to a lack of educational or economic opportunity. Many of these push factors are direct results of past and contemporary U.S. foreign policy. Free trade agreements have diminished economic opportunity and allowed U.S. companies to exploit weak labor and environmental protections in developing nations. U.S. military policy has equipped foreign dictators, militaries, and militias with the tools and training to commit widespread human rights violations against their own citizens. The United States must make a deliberate effort to evaluate the factors leading to migration and lessen them so that migrants are not forced to leave their homes.