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 ensure the humane treatment of immigrant children by ending child and family detention through the increase of Catholics taking more strategic risks. 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 detention.

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:

Our next Catholic Action for Immigrant Children will take place at the southern border, where we will join a national teach-in and prayerful, risk-taking, public action in El Paso, TX between 3-7pm on Saturday, Oct. 12th. A briefing on the action will occur around 3pm and the action will take place at about 5pm. A group of Latinx Catholic leaders are steering the planning along with Hope Border Institute. We hope you will join us for this event!

Share the Facebook event page with your firends!

The last convergence took place in Newark, NJ on Sept. 4, 2019 and saw over 400 people come together to protest the detention of children and separation of families. Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark gave a blessing to those participating, saying, “We stand together in prayer and solidarity with our immigrant sisters and brothers. When they suffer, we suffer, the Church suffers, the Body of Christ suffers. We are one in the Lord and share in the very suffering of Christ.”

See photos of the event on FAN’s Facebook page. Our friends at Ignatian Solidarity Network took many photos, which are accessible in this album and they live-streamed the action on Facebook. Watch it here. Click here for a link to Cardinal Tobin's talk.

We continue to urge everyone to get involved by calling Congress (202-224-3121) and the White House (202-456-1111) to say NO to President Trump’s inhumane policies that separate families and harm children. Here is a sample script:

"As a person of faith, I am calling today to demand [Senator's NAME] or [President Trump] immediately end the unjust and immoral practice of detaining children and families. Family is sacred—it is the cornerstone of our church and our community and must be protected.  Guided by our Catholic faith and our national values, we affirm the dignity of all people and our call to love our neighbors. We can and must remain a country that provides refuge for children and families fleeing violence and persecution. Thank You!

Click here to see some Federal policy asks and a Policy Analysis.

Local or Weekly Actions:

To keep up the momentum and deepen the organizing, we propose various options for weekly actions to increasingly take more risks.

Please list your local actions here so others can find out about them!

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 OCTOBER prayer service, the images of the children whose lives have been lost while detained, and “Catholics say: Stop the Inhumanity” signs.

Find local actions here:

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
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
Pax Christi USA
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Stuart Center: Society of the Sacred Heart