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Archbishop offers solidarity with undocumented detainees

20 12.7.17_prayers for Floricel PAGEArchbishop Cordileone prays in front of the federal building at 630 Sansome St. in San Francisco with a group supporting Floricel Ramos, an undocumented woman recently detained by immigration authorities and fighting in court to remain in the U.S. (Photos by Valerie Schmalz/Catholic San Francisco)


December 7, 2017
Valerie Schmalz

In a Thanksgiving week filled with public actions, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone wrote an opinion piece in the San Francisco Chronicle and then joined activists to fill a U.S. immigration courtroom in solidarity with Hugo Mejia, who was seeking bond while fighting a deportation order.

Mejia was released on $15,000 bond Nov. 21 to return to his wife and three children. He still must contest a deportation order, and is seeking asylum in the U.S., Archbishop Cordileone said.

“It was amazing, you guys are amazing, you have no idea how much help that was – we are getting my dad back!” his daughter told those gathered on the street outside the 630 Sansome St. federal building.

The following day, Nov. 22, Archbishop Cordileone prayed with activists in front of the same federal building for Floricel Ramos, who was detained in March as she left a restaurant with her three children after a breakfast in Lodi. Her three minor children, U.S. citizens, are on their own, with her 17-year-old caring for the 11- and 13-year-olds with the help of a friend. Ramos’ case was heard Nov. 29, with the judge promising a written decision by early the next week.

Auxiliary Bishop William J. Justice, less than a week after his official retirement, joined those in the courtroom in support of Ramos on Nov. 29.

“Thanks, Archbishop Cordileone, for your courage and commitment to share the journey with the less protected and most vulnerable people, the immigrants and refugees who are running 
from violence and or poverty,” said Adriana Guzman, a St. Peter parishioner and leader in Faith in Action Bay Area.

In his essay in the Chronicle, Archbishop Cordileone asked the United States to take its temperature as a society. “How should our society treat Mejia, and millions of other sisters and brothers like him? How would you want to be treated if you were in their situation?

“In a virtuous society – that is, one whose political, social and economic institutions allow all of its members to flourish – the answer to both questions is the same. Will we be such a virtuous society?

“The decision is now before us. The character of our country will be defined by our answer,” Archbishop Cordileone wrote.

Praying Nov. 22 on Sansome for Floricel Ramos and her family, Archbishop Cordileone said, “Lord God help us do everything possible to reunite families.”

In May, Hugo Mejia, 37, and a co-worker were handcuffed by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement immigration officials when they reported for work at a construction site at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield. The co-worker, Rodrigo Nunez, was deported in August. Mejia, who has been in the country for 16 years, did not have a valid ID, said Guzman.

Ramos had pled guilty to two separate DUI’s in 2015 and 2016, and told the judge Nov. 29, she had started drinking for the first time at age 35 overwhelmed by the stress of working 17 hours a day at low-wage jobs, taking care of her children without her husband who was deported in 2012. Ramos, 38, entered the U.S. at age 18. Ramos said she has found success with alcohol counseling and asked to be returned to care for her children who are staying with a friend.

During the recent U.S. bishops meeting in Baltimore, Archbishop Cordileone said the Catholic Church’s position is clearly laid out in the joint pastoral letter issued in 2003 by the bishops of Mexico and the U.S. In 2003, the bishops of the United States and Mexico issued a joint pastoral letter, “Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope.”


20 12.7.17_with Adriana Guzman.Mejia hearing PAGEThe archbishop greets Adriana Guzman, a parishioner at St. Peter Parish in the Mission District and leader in Faith in Action Bay Area.

CNS publishes pamphlet on welcoming refugees, migrants

Catholic News Service has published a new pamphlet titled “Our Faith Teaches: Welcoming the Refugee and Migrant.” Published also in Spanish (“Nuestra Fe Ensena: Acoger al Refugiado y al Migrante”), this pamphlet is meant to be an accessible, easy to read explanation of what the Catholic Church teaches regarding hospitality to the stranger.

The pamphlet also offers a call to action with several suggestions that every parish and every Catholic family can consider doing as a corporal work of mercy.

As Pope Francis launches his international campaign to “Share the Journey,” this pamphlet is designed to help Catholics understand the church’s teaching and therefore better understand when their leaders and their Catholic publications speak out on immigration and refugee issues.

For more information or to purchase copies of the pamphlet, go to http://store.usccb.org/Welcoming-the-Refugee-and-Migrant-p/7-579.htm.

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