Expiration of Law Threatens Foreign-born US Religious

Maria Hayes Franciscan World

Image courtesy of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.

Image courtesy of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.

Franciscan communities in the United States have been spreading the word this week about the upcoming expiration of an important law that allows religious brothers, sisters, and other religious workers to become permanent residents. The law will expire on Sept. 30 unless Congress acts.

The Immigration and Nationality Act allows qualified “special immigrants” to come to the U.S. as minister and non-minister religious workers and to apply for permanent residence. The religious worker section of the law allowing “non-ministers” — religious brothers and sisters — to become permanent residents was originally enacted in 1990 and given an expiration date. This law must be renewed by Congress if the program is to continue. It was renewed last year, but was only given a one-year extension.

Holy Name Province’s Provincial Council is among those encouraging friars and partners-in-ministry to contact Congress and voice their support for this law. Information on how to do so is available on the website of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.

Other news from the English-speaking Conference includes:

  • A reflection called “The Kiss of Joyful Suffering” written by Fr. Michael Della Penna, OFM, of Immaculate Conception Province, who runs the Valley of the Angels Orphanage in Guatemala
  • The ordination to the transitional diaconate of Br. Vincent Nguyen, OFM, of St. Barbara Province, on Sept. 3
  • A groundbreaking energy conservation campaign at St. Monica-St. George Parish Newman Center, which includes the installation of solar panels on the roof. The ministry, located in Cincinnati, is staffed by the friars of St. John the Baptist Province.
  • Video highlights of Pope Francis’s visit to Assisi this week for the World Day of Prayer for Peace

Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.

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