Dominican Sisters of Peace urge
‘comprehensive immigration reform’
Sisters call for ‘viable, legal avenues’ to reunite
families, legalize undocumented persons, provide
opportunities for permanent residency
The Dominican Sisters of Peace, which include more than 600 Sisters and 500 associates in 39 states and six countries, have approved a corporate stance on immigration reform that states:
“We, Dominican Sisters of Peace, call for comprehensive immigration reform that would provide additional viable legal avenues for immigration, reunite families, legalize undocumented persons, and establish opportunities for permanent residency.”
Through this statement, the Sisters join their voices with many other religious congregations, faith traditions, justice organizations, and more (including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) to express great alarm over the broken immigration system in the United States.
An indicator of the primacy and urgency the Dominican Sisters of Peace place on the issue of immigration reform, this is the first corporate stance undertaken by the congregation, which was established in 2009.
Among others, preliminary actions planned in the name of immigration reform include efforts to debunk myths about and work to pass immigration reform legislation, including attempts to resurface legislation similar to the defeated Dream Act bill.
The Dominican Sisters of Peace have a working Immigration Reform Committee that will help develop further specific action steps in the coming months.
[A corporate stance is a deliberate public statement by a congregation expressing a position on an issue of human concern, gospel values, and/or societal systems. Before the congregation takes a corporate stance, members prepare by studying, discussing, and praying about all sides of the various issues involved; a vote is then taken, with a two-thirds majority needed to pass. Once a corporate stance is passed, the congregation commits resources to act on behalf of the stance.]
“We see immigration reform as a humanitarian issue that has an impact on basic human rights and the dignity of the human person,” states Sister Judy Morris, OP, Justice Promoter for the Dominican Sisters of Peace.
“Legislative reform is in everyone’s best interest, even for those who are focused only on economic concerns.”
She shares that, according to the National Academy of Science, Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University (Boston), immigrants fill jobs in a variety of sectors, start their own businesses, and contribute to growth in our economy.
“We join our voices with those who believe that immediate attention should be given to providing opportunities for the education of undocumented young persons brought to the United States as children,” proclaims Sr. Robin Richard, OP, chair of the congregation’s Immigration Reform Committee.
Citing one effort that she says should be renewed, Sister Robin explains that the Dream Act had two major provisions: (1) it would have created a tiered system granting legal status to unauthorized aliens who arrived in the United States before age 16; and (2) it would have repealed current law so as to allow public universities to grant in-state tuition to unauthorized aliens without similarly having to offer in state tuition to certain U.S. citizens. “Although this bill did not pass, we believe this legislation needs to resurface in a form that achieves its original purpose,” she shares. “It is a good beginning towards comprehensive immigration reform.”
One of the main goals of the congregation is to replace myths regarding immigration with facts. “Long-standing injustices concerning immigrants need to be replaced by just legislation,” explains Sister Judy.
“Both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures draw us to stand with the ‘stranger and aliens,’ the poor and outcast. This new corporate stance will help us to stand in solidarity with immigrants, acting on their behalf with the strong voice of our full congregation.”
The Dominican Sisters of Peace are a congregation of more than 600 Dominican Sisters and 500 Dominican Associates who live and minister in 36 States and in Honduras, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, and Vietnam.
They are committed to greater involvement in the global community and simplicity of life, with diverse ministries that include education, health care, social work, spiritual direction, and parish-based ministries, among others. For more information on the congregation, see www.oppeace.org.