By Liz Sullivan
From Palo Alto to Gilroy, members of the immigrant community in Santa Clara County are feeling the impact of the new executive orders that severely impact their everyday lives. In response to these orders, the Diocese of San Jose held an Immigration Summit March 6 & 7 to develop a response to the situation.
The meetings, led by Father Jon Pedigo, Director of Projects for Peace and Justice for the Diocese, brought together members of the Diocese, Catholic Charities, Society of Saint Vincent DePaul, Sacred Heart Community Service, People Acting in Community Together (PACT) and the Pastor of the Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church to coordinate a response and resources for the immigrant community.
“It is not an issue of politics,” said Pedigo. “It is a changing of attitudes, especially when people see their brothers and sisters affected. There is an immediate crisis and we have to provide for a long-term solution. The remedy is comprehensive immigration reform.”
The best analogy Pedigo came up with to describe the situation was “we are basically building an airplane while it is in flight.”
The Executive Order, issued on January 27, is titled: “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” A synopsis of the order states it is to improve national security policy and public safety measures by directing executive departments and agencies to deploy all lawful means to secure the nation’s southern border, to prevent further illegal immigration into the United States and send illegal aliens back to their own country.
“We must decide how we function together,” said Pedigo. “Part of our pastoral work and duty is reacting to a need.”
Using the analogy of building the plane while it is in flight, Pedigo said the next steps are to develop a pastoral plan for the 54 parishes in the Diocese, hold additional meetings and develop leadership for the process.
“Bishop McGrath’s motto says, ‘Together in Christ.’ Together in Christ we can coordinate resources, offer practical support and assist individuals and families impacted by detention, deportation and sudden loss of incomes,” said Pedigo.