The lay Claretians of Chicago inform us of how the situation originating with the pandemic is being lived and how, in spite of the difficulties, they continue to fight for the rights of the immigrants.

Dear Brothers, we tell you how we are living the pandemic in our area. The general situation is:

  • At the federal level we are being attacked by the Department of Immigration Control Authority. So far it has done nothing about confinement in detention centers, where they keep minors, separated from their parents.
  • The offices of the citizenship and immigration services are closed.
  • The justice department closed the immigration courts, postponing all hearings of cases involving immigrants, who are not detained.
  • Immigration will change appointments for people who are not detained and who had an appointment to appear at immigration.
  • On the other hand, we have fought in recent years for proposals that would benefit Access to Justice for all including the undocumented.

This state law states that you:

  1. You have the right to receive medical services regardless of your immigration status.
  2. You can receive free testing, even if you do not have health insurance.
  3. The public charge rule does not apply, if you receive testing or treatment for Covid19.

Both the Governor of the State of Illinois and the Mayor of Chicago have acted accordingly, supporting fellow citizens in both the state and Chicago. They were the first to call for confinement, on March 12.

Thus, Cardinal Blas Cupich also gave directives for the celebration of the Eucharist, such as: to receive communion under one species and to receive it in the hand and to make a gesture of vengeance in the rite of peace.

As in every corner of the planet, staying at home is a moment of grace for the domestic Church, for prayer, and for community and personal reflection.  An enrichment, as we unite ourselves in the distance with the Universal Church, with the Holy Father in the morning Eucharist in Santa Martha. Also to be able to share with the sscc the celebrations, finding ourselves around the Lord.

At the local level, the collection centres have been overflowing, and information is being received and shared with immigrants and those most in need. Using all the technological means at hand.

In the Shared Mission we hold the meetings by zoom, with the NGOs so that we are aware of the changes that usually occur in what concerns immigration.

At the federal level there is an economic stimulus, which first came as a state proposal and was approved by the Federal Government:

  • Direct payment to taxpayers.
  • Extension of unemployment benefits.
  • Small business loans.
  • Dreamers (Deferred Action for illegal immigrants who arrive in childhood) are encouraged to renew their work permits and a temporary visa. Since they have grown up in this country. They are young fighters, and received their academic preparation.

At the moment the Executive Order, for the young people, is in the hands of the Supreme Court, as the current president says it was illegal. Let us pray that God will enlighten the judges; the decision will be made on April 20.

As of today there are about 203,000 DACA recipients, who are on the front line fighting COVID19 , as health, education and food service workers.

We hope to God that the Supreme Court will support the Executive Order. The reality is that right now the United States needs them more than ever. Without this being their home country, they are risking their lives.

We pray, giving thanks, to the God of life and ask Him to protect the Whole World, thanking Him for His tenderness with His children.

Concepción Rodríguez sc