March 4, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Jennifer Roseman, Director of Communications & Development
(509) 474-2395 or (509) 994-5032


The sisters of Mother Joseph Province have experienced firsthand the problems with the current U.S. immigration policy and the resulting trauma it inflicts on families. Last year, two sisters assisted women and children who flooded the border between the United States and Mexico, fleeing from the threat of violence in Central American countries. Other sisters administer a scholarship program in El Salvador that for two decades has given young people in the Bajo Lempa region of the Usulutan an alternative to joining gangs or becoming gang victims.

Those experiences illustrate why the Sisters of Providence adopted a corporate stance in favor of comprehensive immigration reform at their Provincial Chapter last July “in response to the current crisis of refugees coming into our country from homelands racked by social unrest and extreme danger to their lives”.

“Our corporate stance affirms our solidarity with the refugees and immigrants and is in keeping with our pursuit of social justice for the poor and vulnerable,” said Provincial Superior Judith Desmarais. “Like our first corporate stance, in opposition to the death penalty, this action is a result of prayer, discernment and dialogue, and will be part of our prayer and action in the future.”

The corporate stance says the Sisters of Providence support comprehensive immigration reform that:

    • Outlines an earned legalization program that would allow foreign nationals living in the United States to apply to adjust their status to obtain lawful permanent residence and eventually full citizenship;
    • Supports a future worker program to permit foreign-born workers to enter the country safely and legally and includes workplace protections and living wages;
    • Safeguards against the displacement of U.S. workers
    • Changes family-based immigration to increase the number of family visas and reduces waiting times for family reunification;
    • Restores due process rights taken away by the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act;
    • Addresses the root causes of migration in sending countries, including poverty, civil warfare and lawlessness; and

Focuses law enforcement on those who truly threaten public safety, e.g., drug and human traffickers, smugglers and would-be terrorists, in a targeted, proportional and humane manner.

The foundation for the corporate stance is rooted in the Sisters of Providence Constitutions, No. 26: “Attention to the needs of the poor and to situations of injustice which oppress them arouses in us a concern for the demands of social justice. We therefore consider it a duty to promote human dignity by acts of solidarity with persons and groups, sharing what we have with them even to the point of risking our own security.”

A committee has been actively working on this initiative for a few years. The committee members are Sister Charlene Hudon, Sister Chauncey Boyle, Sister Charlotte Van Dyke and Kathryn Kurtz, a Providence Peace Community member. Implementation of the corporate stance, including education and advocacy initiatives, will be discussed by the sisters in their local communities.

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