Welcoming the Stranger:

The Refugee Policy and Our Catholic Response

What is to be our response in welcoming the stranger and those in flight? The Lord Jesus himself fled the tyranny of Herod, was falsely accused, and then deserted by his friends. As it is written in the Gospel of Luke, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Luke 9:58) 

In light of recent changes to our immigration and refugee programs in the United States, it is especially important for us as Catholics to be informed by our faith and to stand united as brothers and sisters in Christ. For those who desire guidance and clarity on issues involving migrants and refugees, this is a page that aims to provide information on Catholic teaching as well as the position of our Catholic Church leaders in the United States. We also offer information for migrants and refugees who wish to become more informed and prepared in the event of an enforcement action. For those who feel called to act on these issues, this page also lists involvement opportunities through discussion, prayer, and advocacy.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program

Approximately 800,000 youth have received protection from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program since its inception by the Department of Homeland Security in 2012. While DACA provides no legal status, it does provide recipients with a temporary reprieve from deportation and employment authorization for legal work opportunities in the United States.

On Monday, September 5th, 2017, the bishops of the Archdiocese of Seattle issued a letter in response to the sudden cancellation of the DACA program. To read their response, click here.

To read the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' response, click here.

As Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said on September 5th, “These youth entered the U.S. as minors and often know America as their only home. The Catholic Church has long watched with pride and admiration as DACA youth live out their daily lives with hope and determination to flourish and contribute to society: continuing to work and provide for their families, continuing to serve in the military, and continuing to receive an education. Now, after months of anxiety and fear about their futures, these brave young people face deportation.” 

For Migrants and Refugees:

Know Your Rights

In response to reports of ICE enforcement and apprehension in certain cities in the U.S. over last weekend, the USCCB’s Justice for Immigrants campaign has created the following Know Your Rights resource (English and Spanish available below). Some additional resources on how to prepare for an encounter with immigration enforcement officers can be found by clicking the links below:

Preparation and Protection: Nine Ways to Protect Yourself

Source: Justice for Immigrants. PDF reader required.

Prepárese y Protéjase : Nueve maneras de protegerse

Fuente: Justice for Immigrants. Lector de PDF requiere.

Know Your Rights: A Collection of Resources

Source: Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.


Catholic Perspectives

Below are some helpful links to articles that illustrate the Catholic Church's teachings on migration, as well as the position of our United States bishops on recent developments in US refugee policy.

USCCB Statement on the Executive Order on Refugees

Click here to view the joint statement from our US bishops in response to President Trump's Executive Order on refugees.

Source: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

A Letter from Archbishop Sartain on Immigration

Click here to read a letter from Archbishop J. Peter Sartain addressed to Catholics in the Archdiocese of Seattle, in response to the recent Executive Order on refugees and immigrants.

Lea la carta en español.

Source: The Office of the Archbishop, Archdiocese of Seattle

Catholic Social Teaching on Immigration

Click here to view a collection of resources for those who wish to gain an in-depth knowledge of the Church's teaching on immigration. Includes pastoral letters, frequently asked questions, and helpful articles.

Source: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Information on Migration: National Migration Week 2017

Click here to download the National Migration Week flyer containing information about the Church's position on issues such as immigration reform, refugee protection, unaccompanied children and families from Central America, immigrant detention, and human trafficking.

Source: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

I Was a Stranger and You Did Not Welcome Me

Click here to read a reflection written by priest and renowned author, Fr. James Martin, SJ, on the call to treat migrants and refugees as Christ.

By Fr. James Martin, SJ. Source: America Magazine

Action, Prayer, and Dialogue

If you feel inspired to become involved, whether by prayer, advocacy, or financial contribution, below are some opportunities or places to start. 

Send an Action Alert

Click here to send an action alert to our President, your US Senators, and your US House Representatives, in solidarity with refugees. 

Syrian Refugee Crisis: 7 Ways to Help

Click here to learn more about the Syrian refugee crisis, make a donation to support the relief efforts of Catholic Relief Services, or to find out more about fundraising or becoming an advocate.