Immigration News

UACT fights to protect the rights of our immigrants

St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Meriden Hosts Immigration Forum

September 17, 2014

Approximately 50 people attended a "Coming to America" immigration forum at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Meriden on Wednesday evening, September 17.  United Action CT co-sponsored the event with St. Rose and Ministerio de Hermandad, the hispanic, immigrant group that was originally born out of organizing efforts by the Office of Catholic Social Justice Ministry.

On Wednesday evening participants listened to a brief history of U.S. immigation policy presented by UACT Executive Diector, Mark Kosnoff and then heard from Father Joseph Devine of St. Rose who quoted scripture readings that correlated with the current Catholic Church position on immigration.  The readings emphasized compassion for fellow man and the Church position states that..."when persons cannot find employment in their country of origin to support themselves and their families, they have a right to find work elsewhere in order to survive.  Sovereign nations should provide ways to accommodate this right." 

All attendees then participated in the Coming to America game, a situational story based upon real life events.  The game describes scenarios of a Guatemalan family that tries to migrate to the United States and the decisions they must make for the welfare of the family.  The game illustrates how immigrant families are often presented with "no good choices" when making the decision to migrate and then are forced to do things illegally to survive.  St. Rose parishoner Anne Schaefer commented, "I never knew things were so bad for these families" after the completion of the game.

Also in attendance at the forum were Miguel Cardona, Performance Evaluation Specialist for the Meriden Public Schools and City Councilor Miguel Castro.  Both men have been appointed to sit on the state-wide task force to investigate the feasibility of housing migrant children and both voiced their support for comprehensive immigration reform as well as their support for the local immigrant population.

After a wonderful buffet provided by volunteers from St. Rose and Ministerio de Hermandad the forum concluded with the real life stories of several local undocumented immigrants.  Patricia Rosas recalled her ordeal to reach the U.S. with her young children nearly 20 years ago.  At the time her son was only one year old but he has been deported back to Mexico, where he has no family and been forced to forage for work to survive.  Alejandro Gonzalez told the heart wrenching story of losing several family members in Mexico within a couple of months but was unable to return to pay his respects because he would be unable t return to the U.S. legally.

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