Catholics Take Action for Immigrant Children

Over 100 Catholic organizations endorsed the Catholic Day of Action for Immigrant Children on July 18th which brought together more than 200 Catholic sisters, priests, brothers and lay Catholic advocates who sang, prayed, and chanted as they held banners and signs demanding “Stop the Inhumanity.” The Holy Spirit brought us 71 Catholic activists who were arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience. Watch this video of the arrests as they happened.

Seven bishops wrote to us with letters and quotes of support and the event garnered over 100 media articles from all over the world, including Nicaragua, Chile, France, UK, and Germany. We also got letters of support from the Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Religious and the Religious Conference of Cuba.

Hundreds of people are already signed up to participate in further actions. Join us by signing up to get our campaign updates here.

As we move forward, our Catholic Coalition has planned a strategic campaign with the goal: to increase the visibility of Catholics willing to take more risks to stop the inhuman treatment of migrant children and to end child detention. The first phase was this prayerful direct action in Washington DC, July 18th. The second phase is a direct action which will be in Newark, NJ on Sept. 4th. The third phase is a direct action at the border in early October. There will likely be coordinated weekly actions between these three events. Watch out for news on our next campaign action by signing up for updates.

Theory of Change:

If we increase visibility of Catholics willing to take more risks, it will spark more Catholics and other religious persons to take risk, significantly increase pressure on the government by impacting key sources of power (ex. intangible, authority), and usher in a tipping point to end child detention. This will create more fruitful conditions to challenge family separation.

To be listed as an Endorsing Organization, please fill out this short form. Endorsers are asked to provide moral, physical and spiritual support, as you are able. See our current list of endorsing organizations here.

Next National Action:

Catholic organizations are coordinating a nonviolent campaign to end the traumatizing abuse of immigrant children and their families by the U.S. government.  After our successful mobilization in Washington, D.C. last month, national organizations are partnering with local groups from NY and NJ as well as Cardinal Tobin in phase two: a national prayerful direct action which will take place in Newark, NJ on Wednesday, September 4.

When: Wednesday, September 4, 10am—12pm
Where: St. Mary's Church/Newark Abbey, 520 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., Newark, New Jersey 07102 with procession to ICE Office at the Federal Building at 970 Broad St.
RSVP here:

Transportation Tips for Newark NJ Action

Share the Facebook event with your friends.

We continue to urge everyone to get involved by calling the White House to say NO to President Trump’s inhumane policies that separate families and harm children. Call the White House phone number (202) 456-1111 and use this sample script:

"As a person of faith, I am calling today to strongly oppose the Trump Administration’s efforts to hold children in dangerous detention centers, and separate immigrant families at the border and in communities around the country.  Family is sacred—it is the cornerstone of our church and our community and must be protected.  The Administration’s policies have led to the tragic deaths of seven children and are traumatizing a whole generation of children.

Guided by our Catholic Social Justice values, we affirm the dignity of all people and our call to love our neighbors. Every family deserves stability and security. Families seeking asylum at the border should not be separated, and children in the United States should not live in fear of their parents being taken away from them at any moment.

We call on the Trump Administration to immediately end the unjust and immoral practice of jailing children and separating families."

Weekly Prayer Action:

To keep up the momentum and deepen the organizing, we propose various options for weekly actions to increasingly take more risks. Here are three ways we invite Catholics to pray together:

1. Monday Prayer: 
Every Monday, join us in a day of personal prayer, fasting and almsgiving on behalf of the children detained at the U.S. border. We encourage you to use our prayer card and pictures of the children who have died in U.S. custody and the images of migrants and refugees provided by the Justice for Immigrants Campaign’s “Migration Monday” project.

2. Parish Prayer:
Plan to gather your local parish after weekend Masses to pray for five or ten minutes for the intention of the Immigrant Children. Share with your pastor our letter of invitation and use our suggested prayer. This gathering might be coordinated through the parish staff, pastor or lay leaders, or it might begin with a few friends gathering following eucharistic liturgy to pray together in remembrance and hope.

3. Community Prayer Vigil:
In whatever way is possible, perhaps on the same day each week, invite Catholics from across your city or town to gather in prayer and public witness, using our prayer service, the images of the children whose lives have been lost while detained, and “Catholics say: Stop the Inhumanity” signs. Please list your weekly actions here so others can find out about them!

Each week (usually Wednesday afternoon), you will receive suggested materials for prayer and action. Please encourage your family and friends to join us as we build toward larger actions in the coming weeks and months.


July Prayer Service for Immigrant Children
Signs: Catholics Say: Stop the Inhumanity

Questions for Planning a Direct Action

Catholic Teaching on Civil Disobedience
Civil Disobedience Strategy Activity

Sponsoring Organizations:
Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Conference of Major Superiors of Men
Faith in Action & Congregation Action Network
Faith in Public Life
Franciscan Action Network
Ignatian Solidarity Network
Jesuit Conference Office of Justice and Ecology
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
Pax Christi USA
Sisters of the Good Shepherd National Advocacy Center
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Stuart Center: Society of the Sacred Heart