Because immigration violations are not considered crimes, people charged with being in the country without permission are not entitled to a court-appointed attorney if they cannot afford a lawyer.
Immigration and the Church
American Jesuits are pushing members of Congress who were educated at the Catholic order's schools to pass aid for thousands of refugee children who have surged across the border in Texas in recent months, calling proposals to swiftly deport them "inhumane and an insult to American values."
"I ask you, as a leader, a parent, and a Catholic, to uphold an American tradition of which we are all proud," Fr. Thomas Smolich, head of the U.S. Jesuit conference, wrote to House Speaker John Boehner and 42 other House members who graduated from Jesuit high schools and colleges.
More than 100 religious leaders and activists were arrested Thursday in a White House protest aimed at halting deportations and aiding immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.
The direct action sponsored by Church World Service and Casa de Maryland, an immigration advocacy group, brought leaders from New England to Hawaii to the nation's capital.
The U.S. Park Police completed the arrests of 112 people by 3 p.m., charging each with "blocking passage" on the sidewalk outside the White House, a misdemeanor, said Sidney Traynham, a spokesman for Church World Service.
Arkansas Bishop Anthony Taylor's July 25 statement is worth the read, as he has firsthand experience of what's happening in Central America.
For the last four years I have served as a member of the Committee on Migration of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In that capacity I visited El Salvador two months ago as part of a Regional Consultation on Migration looking into the plight of refugees fleeing violence and extreme poverty in Central America.
Immigration and the Church: These largely sympathetic views come from all points along the political and religious spectrum, according to a new survey.
So many children are coming from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala because of rampant economic inequality and social exclusion.
As children and families continued crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, a group of diverse religious leaders remained focused on the plight immigrants face after they arrive in the country illegally.
Immigration and the Church: Ideologues who know how to exploit human suffering have pointed to dark-skinned immigrants and refugees and said, "They are to blame."
Across the United States, Catholics have stepped in to help the unprecedented numbers of children flooding the border despite protests, threats, and government reluctance to give access to detained children.
A Latin America expert for Catholic Relief Services, the head of the bishops' migration committee and the president of a Catholic college in Michigan were among those urging the government toward humanitarian responses to a surge of children and families crossing the U.S. border from Central America.