State and Local Immigration Project Answers Pope Francis’s Call

As many state legislatures gather this spring, CLINIC’s State and Local Immigration Project is out in full force engaging with our network to build stronger, safer communities for us all through pro‐immigrant legislation and advocacy. Pope Francis’s Lenten Message reminds us that love, justice and solidarity are not achieved only once but must be realized each day. Similarly, state and local advocacy is not bound only by legislative sessions; it requires year‐round work to uplift immigrants’ stories and prepare the network to advocate in their communities.

Here are a few of our recent highlights:

  • Provided crucial written and oral testimony in front of the Maryland state legislature in support of a bill that would guarantee access to counsel for immigrants at risk of deportation. In line with Catholic social teaching, CLINIC’s statement urged lawmakers to “view migration not as a divisive phenomenon, but as an occasion to build the human family” and made clear that “service to newcomers constitutes an obligation to persons of faith, not an option.”
  • Conducted outreach and education to communities on the Department of Homeland Security’s new policy on Protected Areas, first announced in October 2021. The policy expanded locations safeguarded from immigration enforcement to areas survivors of domestic violence access, facilities serving disabled persons, and many others. In February, CLINIC’s state and local attorney was a featured speaker on a major training on the topic, attended by nearly 200 immigration advocates.
  • Supported the Catholic Conference in Florida, as the state legislature moved a bill (SB 1808/HB 1355) that would harm unaccompanied children and family reunification by impacting common carriers that transport undocumented immigrants into the state of Florida. It will also force each law enforcement agency operating a county detention facility to enter into a 287(g) agreement by Jan. 1, 2023. This undoubtedly will increase racial profiling in the state and will decrease immigrant trust in law enforcement, which puts allpublic safety at risk. CLINIC signed on to a letter opposing the bills. We also submitted a comment regarding

The State and Local Immigration Project is answering Pope Francis’s call to achieve love, justice and solidarity each day. Will you be able to make a donation to this effort? By donating, your generous financial support will be essential in helping our State and Local Project to better reach states and municipalities, expanding our engagement with local jurisdictions. We thank you for your support.