People gather in Belleville to protest immigration ban, refugee crisis

Members of the diocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry were among the 100 or more people who gathered January 31 in Belleville to protest the ban on immigrants and refugees among other issues. At present it is suspended, and the courts are deciding what will happen.

This was a local response to global issues.

“I thought it was important to stand with people of faith” at the rally, Ada Jimenez, family advocate in the Hispanic Ministry office, said. “Our faith calls each of us to speak for those who don’t have a voice.”

Jimenez said the previous Sunday’s Gospel spelled out these needs in the Beatitudes.

“If people like myself are starting to speak out in supporting immigrants physically, there are many more people who are being moved to act,” Jimenez said.

In the case of refugees, many are fleeing for their lives, according to a Catholic News Service article.

“Officials of Catholic Charities USA, Migration and Refugee Services of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc., Catholic Relief Services, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and the Center for Migration Studies called on Trump to rescind his presidential memorandum implementing the suspension, saying the country has a moral obligation to welcome people fleeing for their lives.”

They called the world’s refugee crisis a pro-life issue.

“One of the issues for many of us in this country is that we can’t imagine that the refugee is a person like ourselves, that many of the people that are now caught in camps or horrible situations are people like ourselves who woke up one morning and learned that everything they had was destroyed,” said Dominican Sister Donna Markham, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA.