Module 5: ACT Individually and Collectively on Behalf of Refugees, Internally Displaced People, and Migrants

Fall 2017 - Spring 2018:

Tuesday, August 1, 2017 to Thursday, May 31, 2018

ACTION is addressed in the final 3 chapters - Chapter 6 “Collective Action:  The Role of NGOs in International Development,” Chapter 7 “America: Steps towards Immigration Reform,” and Chapter 8 “Individual Action: Where Do We Go from Here.” In this case, ACTION means moving beyond advocacy about the humanity of migration to undertaking both collective and individual resistance and engagement.  It is about individual people seeking to live a better life being inspired and engaged to respond to others who similarly seek to live a better life.  Together, the collective response – global civil society, faith-based NGOs including Catholic Relief Services, and individuals – can shape the course of immigration reform in the United States and the course of human treatment of the world’s refugees.  

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Course materials

Learning Objectives

Understand the role that the collective response of global civil society, faith-based NGOs including Catholic Relief Services, and individuals can have on the issue of migration.

Compare the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops’ proposals for immigration reform with those of other religious and secular organizations. 

Undertake a personal assessment of what needs to be done and what they, as individuals, can do in a manner that builds on their own personal strengths.  


Module resources are being added and are subject to further changes.

Primary Resources

Messages from the Holy See


Passage 14 – Authentic Development in Populorum Progressio, Encyclical of Pope Paul VI on the Development of Peoples.  Published: March 26, 1967.   


Meeting with Members of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization:  Address of the Holy Father.”  Delivered/Published: September 25, 2015. 

Criminalization of Immigrants


The Mythical Connection between Immigrants and Crime.”  Author:  Jason L. Riley.  Source: The Wall Street Journal.  Published: July 14, 2015. 


The findings of The Criminalization of Immigration in the United States make it “clear: the majority of deportations carried out in the United States each year do not actually target “criminals” in any meaningful sense of the word.”  Authors: Walter Ewig, Daniel E. Martinez, and Ruben Rumbaut.  Source: American Immigration Council.  Published: July 13, 2015.  28 pages. 


U. S. Customs and Border Protection’s Border Patrol Strategic Plan, 2012-2016


Homeland Security Advisory Council Final Report: Final Report of the CBP Integrity Advisory Panel.  Source: Department of Homeland Security.  Published: March 15, 2016.  52 pages.  


In 2013, fourteen Senate Republicans crossed the aisle to join all the Democrats to pass an overhaul of U.S. immigration laws.  Author: Min Kim Seung.  Source: Politico.  Published: June 28, 2013. 

The Catholic Church’s Response in the US


Unlocking Human Dignity: A Plan to Transform the U.S. Immigrant Detention System “examines the flaws in the current U.S. immigrant detention system and their impact on the human rights and dignity of fellow human being, and offers recommendations for reform of the system.”  Joint Report prepared by the Center for Migration Studies of New York and Migration and Refugee Services, The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Published: 2015.  44 pages.  


Catholic Church’s Position on Immigration Reform.  Source: Migration and Refugee Services/Office of Migration Policy and Public Affairs, The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Published: August, 2013.


Advocates for Migration in Arizona and Sonora Gather for ‘Posada,” a binational commemoration of Mary and Joseph’s search for a birth place.  Author: Nancy Wiechec.  Source: Catholic News Service.  Published: December 22, 2015.   


San Diego, Tijuana Residents Have Cross-Border Christmas Celebration: Read the article and see a related 2-minute video.  Author: Jean Guerrero.  Source:  KPBS’ Fronteras Project.  Posted: December 15, 2016.  


In the introduction of “Fruit of the Vine and Work of Human Hands: Immigration and the Eucharist,” Daniel Groody C.S.C. seeks to link the Eucharist, immigration and the option of the poor.  Source: Worship, Issue 80, No.5.  Published: September, 2006.  Pages 386-7. 

Catholic Relief Services - Responses and Advocacy for Refugees


A User’s Guide to Integral Human Development: Practical Guidance for CRS Staff and Partners is the central component Catholic Relief Services uses to design its programs and projects and work with its partners.  Authors: Geoff Heinrich, David Leege, and Carrie Miller.  Published: 2008.

About Savings-led Microfinance  

- Lives and Livelihoods: How Savings Groups Transform Lives 

-  Middle East Refugees Seek Education for their Children 


In Meeting the Challenges of the World’s Refugee Crisis, CRS provides recommendations, on pages 8 – 12, for a path forward.  Published: 2016.  16 pages.  


Richard Jones, CRS Deputy Regional Director, Latin America and the Caribbean, provided testimony “Challenges at the Source: Hearing on Challenges at the Border: Examining and Addressing the Root Causes behind the Rise in Apprehensions at the Southern Border” before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.  Delivered: July 16, 2014.   


CRS Calls on the Obama Administration to Protect Children Fleeing Central America.”  Author: Jossie Flor Sapunar.  Published: January 6, 2016.   


CRS Applauds the Expansion of the Central American Refugee Resettlement Program.” Author:  Jossie Flor Sapunar.  Published: July 28, 2016. 

Responses from Other Refugee Assistance Organizations


A New Path: Toward Humane Immigration Policies.  Source: American Friends Service Committee.  Published: February 2009.  34 Pages.  


Solutions that Work: A Policy Manual for Immigration Reform.  Source: American Immigration Lawyers Association, AILA Doc. No. 10031274.  Published: March 12, 2010.


Amnesty International USA Voices Serious Concerns about Federal Immigration Proposal Priorities.  Source: Amnesty International USA.  Published: April 30, 2010. 


U.S.-Mexico Border Policy Report: Effective Border Policy: Security, Responsibility and Human Rights at the U.S.- Mexico Border.  Authors: Border Network for Human Rights, Border Action Network and U.S.-Mexico Border and Immigration Task Force.  Released in collaboration with the National Immigration Forum.  Published: November 2008.  


Resolution on Immigration and Call for Action.  Source: National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA.  Published: September 22, 2008. 



Caritas Internationalis is a global confederation of over 160 Catholic organizations which, like CRS, are committed to serving the poor. 

The Sanctuary Movement is “a growing movement of immigrant and over 700 faith communities are doing what Congress and the Administration refuse to do: protect and stand with immigrants facing deportation.” 

Forced Migration Review, Issue 48, November 2014 is dedicated to “Faith and Responses to Displacement.”  Thirty-six articles are included in this 84-page issue.  

Individual Action through Catholic Relief Services


CRS programs offer a ladder of engagement—leading from work as a campus Ambassador to internships both at home and abroad and finally to international development fellowships and ultimately careers.


Meet Recent Interns


About Student Ambassadors  


Fellow Experiences   

Watch a video about Eric Wise’s experiences in Kenya (1:55 minutes) 

- Current Fellow—Daniel Pasquini-Salazar’s Work in the Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza Region.  Posted January 21, 2015.  


Careers at CRS  

Individual Experiences Can Happen in Many Places


Young Undocumented Activism in the United States


Watch Pushing the Dream, a video about “an empowered movement of young undocumented immigrants seeking a pathway to citizenship ... gearing up for the immigration debate in 2013.”  Author:  Brent McDonald.  Source: New York Times.  Published:  December 1, 2012.  Time: 7:55 minutes.


The article “The Young Activists Who Remade the Democratic Party’s Immigration Politics” describes how DREAMers became leaders in both Bernie Sanders’ and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns.  Author:  Julianne Hing.  Source: The Nation.  Published: January 21, 2016. 


Jerusalem, West Bank, and Gaza Region

Current Fellow—Daniel Pasquini-Salazar’s Work in the Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza Region.  Posted January 21, 2015.  



Eric Wise relates his experiences in Kenya in a 1:55 minute video.



First Year Alumni: Julia Consolidates Her Interests in the Philippines.  Atuhor: Jessica Daniels.  Posted April 24, 2015. 


Living on a Land that Is No Longer Land at All describes CRS’ SUCCESS project (Strengthening Urban Communities’ Capacity to Endure Severe Shocks.)  Author: Jennifer Hardy.  Published: June 17, 2015

An Invitation to Serve


An Invitation to Serve Immigrants and Refugees


In Refugee Crisis: The Beauty of Serving (2:03 minute video), Nikos Voutsinos, chairman of Caritas Athens, talks about the rewards of serving others.  Author: CRS Staff.  Posted: April 8, 2016.  


Syrian Refugee Crisis: 7 Things You Can Do to Help.  Author: Kim Pozniak.  Posted: February 10, 2017.  

Secondary Resources

Additional Readings

Chapter 6

Groody, Daniel, “Fruit of the Vine, Work of Human Hands: Immigration and the Eucharist,” Worship 80 no. 5 (September, 2006): 386-402. 

Hondagneu-Sotelo, Pierrette. God’s Heart Has No Borders.  Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2008.

_____ed. Religion and Social Justice for Immigrants. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2007.

Korgen, Jeffrey Odell. Solidarity Will Transform the World: Stories of Hope from Catholic Relief Services. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2007.

Chapter 8

Oliner, Samuel and Pearl Oliner.  The Altruistic Personality.  New York: The Free Press, 1988.

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