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Immigration
DLC resolves to support, promote comprehensive reform
At its annual meeting in October, the Dominican Leadership Conference adopted a Resolution on Immigration Reform. This powerfully worded document includes a commitment to include the plight of immigrants and the call for justice for immigrants in Dominican preaching; expand social services and pastoral ministry to immigrants and migrants; and work collaboratively with others to achieve comprehensive immigration reform. Many Dominicans across the country are already living this commitment in their day-to-day ministries.
Resolution on Immigration Reform

Whereas Jesus taught that when we receive a foreigner, we receive him, “…I was a stranger and you welcomed me…” (Mt 25);

Whereas the current immigration system is so broken that it denies immigrants basic human and civil rights,

Whereas the current immigration system is incapable of balancing our nation’s need for labor and the labor supply;

Whereas one of the peace and justice priorities of the Dominican Order is to stand in solidarity with “people on the move,” i.e., people migrating to obtain livelihood, security and family integrity.

Therefore be it resolved that the Dominican Leadership Conference supports and will actively promote comprehensive immigration reform by the U.S. Congress that includes:

1. Provides a path to permanent residency for immigrants currently residing in the United States.
2. Assures family unity for immigrant families.
3. Expands the number of visas available to respond fairly to the demands of applicants as well as the needs of the U.S. economy.
4. Respects the safety and security of the U.S. borders.
5. Extends to immigrant workers the same protections that U.S. citizen workers enjoy, such as minimum wage, job portability, benefits, and right to organize.
6. Balances quantity of visas with our country’s need for additional workers in order to ensure that U.S. workers are not displaced from employment.
7. Creates mechanisms with resources to enforce worker’s rights.
8. Guarantees workers mobility within and between the U.S. and their homeland.
9. Provides a path to citizenship for immigrant workers.
10. Guarantees basic human and civil rights of immigrants in the U.S., such as education, health care, language training, and assistance with cultural integration.
11. Protects the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.
12. Promotes long range solutions to the increasing demands on our immigration system.
13. Collaborates with sending countries that ensures economic development to
benefit unskilled workers.
14. Withdraws federal monies from states which are presently being used to train local law-enforcement personnel as immigration agents.

Be it further resolved that the Dominican Leadership Conference commits to the following actions:

1. Include the plight of immigrants and the call for justice for immigrants in our preaching.
2. Expand social services and pastoral ministry to immigrants and migrants as much as possible.
3. Work collaboratively with other people of good will to achieve comprehensive immigration reform
4. Urge local and national leaders to support comprehensive immigration legislative reform.
5. Teach, write and speak about the need for immigration reform in order to bring needed attention to the issue and correct media distortions.
6. Urge the Federal Government to ensure due process and access to pastoral services for all detained immigrants.

Resources:

1. USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) www.justiceforimmigrants.org
2. Dream Act info: www.justiceforimmigrants.org/learn-issues.shtml
3. Immigration Policy Center: www.immigrationpolicy.org
4. Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act (CIR ASAP) introduced by Congressman Luis Gutierrez Dec 2009.
5. S. 3932 Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010 introduced by Senators Robert Mendez (D-NJ) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Sept 29.

Submitted by
Durstyne Farnan OP and Charles Dahm OP – North American Justice Promoters
Provincial Council – Southern Province
Leadership Team – Dominican Sisters of Peace

Adopted by DLC Assembly October 2, 2010

Rose Marie Cummins, OP (Peace)
Chaplain, Federal Detention Center Florence, Arizona

Excerpts from a reflection by Rose Marie Cummins, OP, on Promoting Unity in Diversity (reprinted with permission)

Every day, there are more than 1,300 persons from over 80 countries in detention here. They are men and women, sometimes juveniles and children, who have fled their countries because of war, poverty, persecution and discrimination based on their religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity or political opinion.

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Chuck Dahm, OP (Central Province)
Associate Pastor, St. Pius V Parish
Co-Coordinator of Peace and Justice for Dominicans in North America
Chicago, Illinois

Chuck Dahm, OP, speaking at the 2010 May Day march for immigration reform in Chicago.

I have worked at St. Pius V parish in Chicago as pastor and now associate pastor for 24 years. Our parish community consists overwhelmingly of Mexican immigrants who struggle daily to feed their families and escape the injustices perpetrated by the U.S. system of justice. Our parish has developed many programs to welcome and service immigrant families…

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Joanne Marie Beirne, OP (Caldwell)
ESL Teacher
New Jersey

I am enlivened by the strong stance the DLC has taken on this important issue of justice. As a Dominican sister and a U.S. citizen, I see this as an opportunity to preach and live justice in this country and witness to the Gospel values to which we are called.

Personally, I will continue to assist immigrants realize their dreams of education, family stability, health and the dignity of work. Enabling undocumented residents to use their talents can only help to better our country and world.

This is where we have come from; let us return to our roots.

Janice Thome, OP (Peace)
Roserita Weber, OP (Peace)
Ministry of Presence
Garden City, Kansas

The Ministry of Presence is a direct ministry with the economic poor. Here, two Dominican Sisters of Peace listen to the struggles of the poor and help where they are able and celebrate each success no matter how small.

Sr. Janice Thome, OP, mentors women in isolated and abusive or formerly abusive situations. She visits with them in the home and assists them in handling their mail, bills, getting to medical appointments, etc.

Sr. Roserita Weber, OP, teaches the information in the drivers’ handbook helping people in groups or individually. She then provides transportation to the written test. With permit in hand, she practices driving with them until they are ready for their driving test.

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