Five congregations of Dominican sisters sponsor summit

 Hope Justice Committee members Ehab Alkutua, Sister Pat Jelly, and Anthony Advincula talk with summit participant Davi.

Hope Justice Committee members Ehab Alkutua, Sister Pat Jelly, and
Anthony Advincula talk with summit participant Davi.

On Sunday, Sept. 18, the Hope Justice committee held an Immigration Summit at Mariandale in Ossining, New York. Attendance was over 100. The goal of the day was to contribute to a shift in the U.S. approach to immigration law and practice, and to develop strategies for future collaboration.

A tableau reflection, presented by three immigrants and one sister, called us all to attention on the immensity of the issue and the changes it calls forth from us. Panelists representing law, faith education and the Dream Act fed both our heads and hearts. Moderator Dr. Anele Heiges, OP (Adrian) introduced the panel and following their comments, asked focused questions. Panelists were Christopher Portelli, Esq. of NY Legal Assistance Group in NYC; Deirdra Cornell, author, Catholic Worker, Maryknoll Lay Missioner in Mexico, wife and mother of five with 30 migrant godchildren; and Rev. Petero Sabune, of the African Partnership Office for the Episcopal Church, who spoke about immigration facts and fiction.

Later three different workshops were held on “Perspectives on Immigration.” Dr. Anna Brown, professor of social justice at St. Peter’s College and her student Katalina Acorno led the panel on Education. Roger Algase, Esq, with 30 years of experience in immigration law, spoke on law and the importance of good legal representation. Advocacy Rights was the topic for presenters Lili Salmeron of Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigration Rights and Mizue Aizeki of the Immigrant Defense Project.

Finally, Sister Pat Jelly, OP (Hope) led a plenary session in which next steps were identified. Attendees filled out postcards claiming their commitment beyond this Summit Day. Examples include:

  • Vocalizing my positive position regarding immigrants
  • Study and speak with friends on the military component of the Dream Act
  • Network as much as possible
  • Get more involved with local endeavors regarding secure communities
  • Work with immigrants through literacy classes, work with staff and have them work with students
  • Publicize our corporate stance in our school, parishes, ministries so all can see what Dominicans stand for
  • Continue our immigration work and widen our circles
  • Promote absolute need to give voice and action to immigration policies and reform initiatives
  • Become more informed and increase awareness
  • Converse with 5 family members opposed to immigration and the Dream Act

Sponsors of the Immigrant Summit included:

  • Dominican Sisters of Hope, Ossining, New York
  • Dominican Sisters of Amityville, New York
  • Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt, New York
  • Dominican Sisters of Sparkill, New York
  • Dominican Sisters of Caldwell, New Jersey
  • American Friends Service Committee
  • International Public Policy Institute
  • WESPAC Foundation
  • Dominican Sisters Conference
  • Partnership for Global Justice
  • Jersey City Truth Action Peace Coalition (JCTAP)
  • Action 21
  • Jersey City Peace Movement
  • Anakbayan
  • Jersey City Soccer
  • Sisters of Divine Compassion
Dominican Congregations of the Northeast Take Corporate Stance on Immigration Reform

June 2011

The Dominican Congregations of Amityville, Blauvelt, Hope, Sparkill (NY) and Caldwell (NJ) believe that our present immigration law is badly broken and in need of reform: it ignores the human situation of separated families and the oppressive living conditions that force people to migrate.

We support a compassionate and comprehensive immigration law that:

  1. Provides the processes for undocumented persons to achieve permanent residency and citizenship without leaving the United States,
  2. Creates legal avenues for migration,
  3. Assures family unity for immigrant
  4. Provides guaranteed human rights and labor protections for undocumented workers – and all workers,
  5. Addresses the root-causes of migration by protecting the human rights of workers internationally.

Members of these congregations have a long history of working and advocating with immigrants and commit themselves to the following Actions:

  1. Publish our corporate stance in the media,
  2. Educate ourselves by staying informed of developments in immigration legislation,
  3. Continue to advocate and educate for immigration reform in our ministries, parishes and with other concerned groups and
  4. Contact local and federal legislators to support the issue of a just reform of immigration laws.