CSJs Sign Letter for Immigration Reform

In collaboration and communion with the New York State Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform, the St. Louis province signed on to a letter to Secretary Janet Napolitano urging Department of Human Services (DHS) to exercise discretion concerning the deportation of immigrants by evaluating the totality of the circumstances in each individual case, including cases involving immigrants who at one time in their lives had been convicted of a crime.

Many immigrants with long-ago convictions have since had clean records, started families, and become model members of their communities. They pose no risk to public safety and therefore fall outside the agency’s enforcement priorities. To categorically deny them the possibility of discretion goes against all that we in the faith community understand about redemption, forgiveness, human growth, and reconciliation.

Consider the case of Julia Casares from Queens, N.Y. who suffered a miscarriage last month as she was about to be deported to Ecuador because of a ten-year old shoplifting conviction. Casares has a partner, two U.S. citizen children and four U.S. citizen siblings, but it wasn’t until she lost her baby while in ICE custody that officials decided to allow her to stay. Had it not been for that long-ago conviction, it is likely that Casares would never have had to endure this tragedy. An appropriate discretion policy might well have prevented it.

We show our support for Casares and many other immigrants by joining with others in asking DHS to exercise discretion by considering the individual factors in all cases, including in those cases involving prior criminal history.

Read the Sisters of St. Joseph's statement on immigration reform.

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