Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Planet in Crisis

The Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, which was founded in 1985 as the national advocacy office for the Missionary Society of St. Columban in the United States, will have a webinar on September 8 to discuss what about our social and economic systems need to change and how we can help make that change a reality. 

From the announcement:

Drought. Wildfires. Flooding. Mass extinction of species extinction. Water contamination. Land displacement.

These and other signs of crisis are happening for everyone to see. But how did we get here - what are the "root causes" of this crisis - and how can we change course in order to build a more joyful, sustainable future?
The free webinar begins at 8:00 p.m. and will be 90 minutes long. It is called Planet in Crisis: What are the Root Causes & Solutions? 

The panelists are Cynthia Gonzalez, Advocacy Coordinator (Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach); John Din, National Coordinator (Laudato Si' Movement-Pilipinas); and Marianne Comfort, justice coordinator for Earth, antiracism, and women (Sisters of Mercy of the Americas).

Registration is here.

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Monday, August 16, 2021

The Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act

 The Catholic Labor Network reports that earlier this month, the Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act (PWFA) was sent to the floor of the US Senate. On August 9, the US Bishops’ Committees on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Pro-Life, and Defense of Marriage sent an unusual joint letter of support to Congress urging passage of PWFA.

According to the Network:

Too often, women workers must choose between the demands of their jobs and the health of their unborn babies. The Pregnant Workers’ Fairness Act would require employers to make “reasonable accommodations” for pregnant women in the workplace – for instance, assigning light duty to women in later stages of pregnancy if available. It’s a commonsense pro-life, pro-worker and pro-family measure. The measure passed the House in May but remained bottled up in committee on the Senate side until just a few days ago.

The Bishops wrote:

Catholic teaching is clear that policy choices around work should be made to support the family because “family life and work mutually affect one another.” The Catholic bishops of the United States have repeatedly called for circumstances of employment that better support family life, especially in the challenges associated with having children. As Pope Francis has noted, “The State has the responsibility to pass laws and create work to ensure the future of young people and help them realize their plan of forming a family.”

You can read the entire letter here.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Expedited removal proceedings

Last week, after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that it will be placing certain migrant families in expedited removal proceedings, Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, asked the administration to change the policy.

The expedited removal proceedings allow immigration officers to quickly, and without a hearing, deport noncitizens suspected of recently entering the United States without inspection. While Congress did not intend for expedited removal to be used against bona fide asylum seekers, it is widely believed that its use undermines due process and impedes access to protections guaranteed by both domestic and international law. 

According to the USCCB, “This announcement was made days before DHS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the federal government will continue to use authorities under Title 42 of the U.S. Code to block and expel asylum seekers, including families with children and those attempting to exercise this legal right at designated ports of entry. These developments coincided with the Biden Administration’s release of its ‘Blueprint for a Fair, Orderly, and Humane Immigration System’ on July 27.

Here is Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville’s statement:

“In February, we welcomed Executive Orders signed by the President related to removing barriers and restoring due process in the legal immigration system. Strong due process is vital for the rule of law to thrive in accordance with the common good, and we cannot have a ‘fair, orderly, and humane’ immigration system without robust due process protections.

 Therefore, we call on the Administration to reverse course on its expanded use of expedited removal, reexamine its use of Title 42 authorities, and truly promote due process, consistent with past commitments. We also renew the appeal I made in April with my brother bishops from along the U.S.-Mexico border, echoing Pope Francis: let us work together as a nation to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate migrants according to their God-given dignity. Mindful of public health concerns, we encourage policies supported by sound scientific rationales and oppose those with a disparate impact on families, children, and other vulnerable populations. Finally, we praise recent efforts by the Administration to expand vaccination access for migrants, which is critical to limiting the spread of COVID-19. 

In this Year of Saint Joseph, we pray for the patron of families to intercede on behalf of vulnerable migrant families, especially those traveling with children and the elderly.

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