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July 19, 2016

Catholic Immigrant Advocates Ask, "Where’s The Horror?"

Catholic Immigrant Advocates Ask, "Where’s The Horror?"
A panel of Catholic immigration experts addressed the Latino Leadership Initiative on June 29, six days after the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked on the key immigration case United States v. Texas.
The dialogue, titled “Immigration Experiences: Human, Political and Legal Dimensions” and held at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, informed attendees about how the Supreme Court decision will affect the application of immigration law, the current state of the humanitarian crisis on the U.S. border with Mexico and in Central America, and what role the Catholic Church and faith-based organizations are playing in addressing the crisis.

The conversation, covered by Catholic news site Crux, featured Antonio Tijerino, president and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation; Ashley Feasley, director of advocacy for the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC); and Luis Cardona, director of Street Outreach Network and Children, Youth, and Family Services for Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.

The panelists expressed dismay at the worsening situation and wave of deportations and called for greater advocacy, while also noting areas of hope. “We have to be able to call our leaders out,” Tijerino said. “This is an issue of people trying to escape with their lives. Where’s the horror over what’s happening right now?” Speaking to the audience of young Latino leaders, the panelists agreed that the best thing to do is “to make a personal commitment to accompany those who are suffering and to keep working toward building a country that understands what immigrants face.”

Three young Latino leaders who are regular participants in the Latino Leaders Program shared their own personal immigration stories to add context to the policy discussion.

Encouraging and Informing Latino Leaders

The timely discussion was one of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life’s gatherings for the Latino Leadership Initiative.

In partnership with the Catholic Latino Leadership Initiative/Iniciativa de Liderazgo Católico, the Initiative organizes dialogues and receptions for Latino leaders in Washington, D.C. to explore connections between their faith, Catholic social teaching, and their professional lives. These sessions include dialogues about key policy and contemporary issues and personal stories about faith and public life from prominent speakers. They also offer a valuable space for reflection, networking and community-building.

Those interested in learning more about the Latino Leadership Initiative and receiving information about future events should sign up for our email list.