Hello, my name is Kayla Jacobs. I am the Relief and Development Coordinator for the Catholic Diocese of Joliet’s Justice & Peace Ministry in the Office for Human Dignity.
We are here in partnership with our fellow people of faith and Immigrant Solidarity DuPage and in solidarity with our brothers and sisters at the border waiting to enter the US, people enroute to the US, and migrants everywhere.
While the issue at our southern border has been highly politicized our response is simple, Human Dignity is above all and love of God and neighbor is our priority.
Over the past several months we have been able to engage our parishioners in this caravan project and the turnout has not been a disappointment. Many of our parishes and universities have collected items for our asylum seeking brothers and sisters. We are grateful for the opportunity to do practical hospitality at the border by providing material and humanitarian needs for respite centers but most importantly we are grateful for the opportunity to show our brothers and sisters that they are welcomed here in this country. We are also grateful to show our parishioners and individuals who have donated that their actions make a difference in the lives of others.
On January 20th the US Bishops released a statement regarding immigration. In the statement they noted their opposition to a border wall and any changes to current law that would make it more difficult for unaccompanied children and asylum seekers to access protection and they end it with the hope that a conclusion is made that would show compassion, safety, and protection for the vulnerable.
Last week I attended the Bishop’s annual Peace and Justice conference with about 500 other advocates. Our Diocese, the Diocese of Joliet, which includes DuPage county had the most amount of participants out of the whole country. While we were there we advocated for the permanent protection of DREAMERS and TPS holders but NOT at the cost of other protected populations such as Asylum seekers, which some politicians have suggested. We, as a Church, are unwilling, to negotiate one protected population for another. Our reasoning again, is simple, the book of John, John 10:10. states: “Christ came that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” All who seek a life of basic human rights should be granted the opportunity to actually seek it out.
In conclusion, I would like to wish our legislators a happy valentines day and invite them to love thy neighbor.