The Office for Immigrant Affairs and Immigration Education is the first diocesan office of its kind in the United States. We originated in 2009 from the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform: Justice for Immigrants of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Creation of the office signifies the importance of immigration to the Archdiocese of Chicago, and the need to have a coordinated local response that is rooted in faith to the issues associated with immigration.
Through our various networks, we work to create a multi-cultural community that responds to the Gospel call to "welcome the stranger..." Our work has four primary components and goals:
A) Accompany: Walk with and provide pastoral care to immigrants so they feel welcomed and experience God's love and compassion during the course of their journey as new immigrants in the Archdiocese of Chicago (Cook and Lake Counties).
B) Educate: Provide education that converts minds and hearts so the local community-particularly the non-immigrant Catholic community-will come to respect the dignity of all persons, including the immigrant, and recognize the many benefits of immigrants to the local community and society.
In addition, we educate the local immigrant community to protect their civil rights, and keep their families together.
C) Advocate: Work to gain broad support for compassionate and comprehensive Immigration Reform that expresses the core principles of the USCCB, which are:
•Provides a path to citizenship for undocumented persons in the country
•Preserves family untiy as a corner-stone of our national immigration system
•Provides legal paths for low-skilled immigrant workers to come and work in the U.S.
•Restores due process protections to our immigration enforcement policies
•Addresses the root causes (push factors) of migration, such as persecution and economic disparity
In addition, we work to protect and defend the dignity of all immigrants so they can understand and exercise their rights and responsibilities.
D) Empower: Provide immigrants with the leadership formation and infrastructure so they are able to respond to the needs of their own communities through ministries and actions of service and justice.
By accomplishing these goals, we hope to foster the formation of a society where immigrants are welcomed and integrated in local communities; where immigrants are able to discover and contribute their God-given talents to their full potential, and celebrate the richness of their cultures; and where immigrant and non-immigrant communities find "unity in diversity" as one, multi-cultural community in order to realize Christ's desire that "all may be one".
"I was a stranger and you welcomed me..." ~Matthew 25:35
"Fui forastero, y me recogisteis..." ~Mateo 25:35
"Byłem gościem, a przyjęliście mię..." ~Mateusza 25:35