Immigration Reform

Bringing about a more humane and just immigration system in the United States.

SrMarieandreeImmigration_Cropped

Refugeestatement_art_cropWe, the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, are deeply concerned about the U.S. administration’s executive orders on immigration and refugee resettlement which serve only to threaten border communities, force our immigrant community members further into the shadows, and endanger those fleeing violence. These misguided executive orders do nothing to make anyone more secure and may well have the opposite effect.

We are troubled by President Trump’s order which bans residents of seven Muslim majority countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days, suspends refugee resettlement entirely for four months, and bars resettlement of Syrian refugees indefinitely. This is unconscionable in the face of the unprecedented global refugee crisis. The Trump administration has forced all of us to turn our backs on families who are literally running for their lives.

This nation, and the greater Toledo area, has a long history of welcoming immigrants and sheltering refugees. The Sisters of St. Francis arrived in Toledo at a time of rapid growth for the Catholic immigrant population. Most of us trace our roots to immigrant families.  We have served immigrant and refugee communities for a very long time. The Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, remain committed to welcoming refugees who come to this country after passing through the U.S. government’s already rigorous screening processes. Halting or undermining the U.S. refugee resettlement program leaves vulnerable refugees, including women and children fleeing violence, in extreme danger and diminishes us all.

We strongly object to President Trump’s attempts to limit our ability to heed God’s call to welcome the stranger (Mt. 25:35) and to care for those most in need (Mt 25:40).   As a congregation of women religious and associates, we stand with the poor in the struggle for justice, incarnating hope, by seeking to improve the quality of human life. We are particularly concerned about regulations that deny access to refugees because of their religion, race, or nationality. It is a violation of our faith and every norm of humanity.

We vow to continue to welcome refugees and minister to immigrants. The Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania and our associates will continue to press for restoration of refugee resettlement, relief for families, an end to needless deportations, and the closure of all family detention centers. We will continue to advocate for compassionate, bipartisan legislation that fixes our broken immigration system. We will continue to stand in solidarity with families, regardless of immigration status, who labor daily to provide safety and security for their children.

This statement is based on a statement issued by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.  The full LCWR statement can be found at lcwr.org

Sylvania Franciscans work for Migrants and Immigration Reform by:

  • Writing to Congress
  • Supporting local boycotts
  • Standing up for the migrants in our area
  • Praying for our government leaders that they make wise decisions regarding the immigrant population to preserve the rights of immigrant workers and to ensure family unity

Sisters' Stories

Sister Joan Jurski

Sister Joan Jurski

To be a woman of peace and seeker of justice has been part of my life as a Franciscan. It is the Gospel call that is lived through the spirit of St. Francis. This has directed my life throughout my years of ministry, especially most actively as a diocesan Director of Peace and Justice. Perhaps the most challenging times to act on these values has been in educating people to the Church’s Social Teaching regarding immigration. For many people, Catholics as well, the idea of migrants and immigration raised fears and a variety of arguments to keep them out of this country. Creating parish social ministry committees helped in the dialog and education about our basic social teaching to revere and respect all persons. It was not enough to collect clothes or food for Migrants, social action for change was needed. In collaboration with other ecumenical bodies we continued to work for immigration reform which respects the dignity of all people. And the work goes on.
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