Personal, spiritual side of immigration cited

Rudy Lopez and another participant in the Fast for Families in Washington, D.C. conversed while in the tent where they formed a community. Lopez called for prayer, fasting and action on immigration reform during a visit to St. Louis Feb. 12.

For Rudy Lopez, immigration is as much personal as it is spiritual.

Lopez was born in the United States and grew up among immigrants, including cousins who were undocumented and living in his home after having left Mexico. "I got a first-hand look at the pain and suffering and challenges they had," Lopez said. "I saw the toll it takes on the human spirit to be separated from loved ones. I also saw the great sacrifices they were making in order to provide basic needs for their families."

Immigration reform seen as way to improve lives

Naomi Carranza laughed with her friend, Grace Magee, at her locker in the hallway of Notre Dame High School in south St. Louis County. Carranza is a speaker on the topic of immigration and shares her personal testimony of the difficulties in becoming a citizen.

An attorney called it broken, a 16-year-old Catholic school student said it has meant that she cannot visit her grandparents and the former director of the National Farm Worker Ministry said it is a threat to the U.S. agricultural system.

Advocates on walk take a stance for justice for immigrants

About 200 people walked along the sidewalk on Grand Avenue in St. Louis on a 5-mile journey, moving in and out of a light rainfall. Others followed in a bus or in cars.

They carried umbrellas, pushed strollers and hoisted signs calling for justice for immigrants. Several wore bright blue T-shirts proclaiming "I'm an Immigrant Justice Voter."

Civil disobedience arrests punctuate immigration reform rally, march

WASHINGTON -- Attendees at an immigration rally Oct. 8 at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., said, although they've been to many such events and are frustrated that they're still waiting for immigration reform, they remain hopeful.

Leticia and Alejandro Hernandez of Princess Anne, Md., carried signs explaining that they have been here since 1989 and that this is their home now. They told CNS that because of their undocumented status, they have never been able to travel home to see their parents in Mexico. They have four U.S. citizen children, two of them in college, they proudly said.

Efforts seek to fix bumps on roadmap to citizenship

Alfredo Flores, owner of Las Fuentes Mexican restaurant in Arnold, recently spoke at his parish’s conference on immigration entitled, “Catholic Conversations on Immigration.” He stood in his kitchen as the staff prepared for the lunch crowd. He is a member of Immaculate Conception in Arnold.

Immigrants Maria Jose Ortiz, Elpida Ortiz, Alfredo Flores and Christine McArdle -- each firmly rooted Americans active in their parishes -- agree on the need for a common-sense immigration process, one that includes a road map for new Americans who aspire to be citizens.

McArdle understands firsthand those currently striving for citizenship and navigating a maze of regulations that sometimes provides no light at the end of the tunnel.

That's because the analyst with a St. Louis pharmaceutical company had to become a U.S. citizen not just once, but twice.

As migration rises worldwide, pope calls for international cooperation

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis called for greater international cooperation to improve conditions for the world's rising numbers of migrants and called on the media to combat prejudices that make immigrants unwelcome in their new countries.

The pope's words came in his annual message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will be celebrated Jan. 19, 2014. The message was released by the Vatican Sept. 24.

"Contemporary movements of migration represent the largest movement of individuals, if not of peoples, in history," the pope wrote.

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