Lawful Assembly – Episode 15: Home

This is an interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin, an Adjunct Faculty member of the DePaul University College of Law and the Grace School of Applied Diplomacy.  This podcast links the loss of homes felt by many of the freed slaves after the Civil War, including George Floyd’s great-great grandfather, with the loss of home many refugees face when forced to flee their nations due to state sanctioned violence and the consequences of the breakdown of the rule of law.  We face challenges both at our borders, but also when we contribute to the conditions that force families to flee their homes.  We need to address ways to provide the rule of law and justice for all.  The story of George Floyd’s family history and the loss of his great-great grandfather’s 500 acres comes from Toluse Olorunnipa and Griff Witte, “Born with two strikes, How systemic racism shaped Floyd’s life and hobbled his ambition,” https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/national/george-floyd-america/systemic-racism/

Senn High School, located in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago, is one of the most diverse high schools in the nation.  Its students and their families speak over 80 languages and claim over 60 nations as their birth homes.  Congratulate its graduates and learn more about our neighborhood high school at:  https://www.sennhs.org

Frederick Douglass’ call for simple justice comes from David W. Blight, Frederick Douglass Prophet of Freedom, (N.Y., 2018), 558-59.

Rev. Garrison   Frazier and the black leaders’ activism in Savannah, Georgia comes from Eric Foner, Reconstruction, America’s Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877, (N.Y., 1988), 70.

 

Action Steps:

Information about the Community Renewal Society’s Juneteenth film screening of “Crawford: The Man the South Forgot,” can be found at:   https://www.communityrenewalsociety.org/events/juneteenth-film-amp-discussion   You can find some of the current programs CRS sponsors to seek simple justice toda at: https://www.communityrenewalsociety.org/platform?sectionscroll=just-economy

Information on the National Immigrant Justice center and the “We Are Home” campaign,  can be found at:  https://immigrantjustice.org/press-releases/civil-rights-groups-send-letter-dhs-secretary-calling-meaningful-opportunity-return

Information of the proposed Berta Caceres Human Rights Act of 2021can be found at:

https://soaw.org/BertaAct2021

 

 

Lawful Assembly – Episode 14:

This is a podcast interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin, an Adjunct Faculty member at DePaul University’s College of Law and The Grace School of Applied Diplomacy. President Biden recently responded to a national outcry protesting the limitation of refugee resettlement in this fiscal year to 15,000 refugees and reversed his decision, raising the goal to welcome 62,500 refugees.  This podcast encourages advocates to encourage the administration to achieve that goal and collaborate with resettlement agencies to revitalize the public-private partnership that will continue to benefit our communities.

President Biden’s announcement can be found at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/05/03/statement-by-president-joe-biden-on-refugee-admissions/

The specific numbers allocated for this fiscal year can be found at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/05/03/memorandum-for-the-secretary-of-state-on-the-emergency-presidential-determination-on-refugee-admissions-for-fiscal-year-2021-2/

Chicago refugee resettlement programs include:

Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago: www.ecachicago.org/project/give-clean-water/

Heartland Human Care Services: www.heartlandalliance.org/program/rics

RefugeeOne: www.refugeeone.org/

The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago Refugee Resettlement Program: https://www.catholiccharities.net/GetHelp/OurServices/RefugeeResettlementServices.aspx

World Relief Chicagoland Refugee Resettlement: https://chicagoland.worldrelief.org/resettlement/

Susan Gzesh’s article on an alternative allocations for refugee resettlement can be found at:  https://www.justsecurity.org/75799/why-must-central-american-asylum-seekers-risk-their-lives-to-reach-the-us-there-is-an-alternative/

Lawful Assembly 11: Building a Welcoming City

This is a podcast interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin, founder and former Director of the Midwest Immigrant Rights Center and an Adjunct Faculty member at DePaul University’s College of Law and The Grace School of Applied Diplomacy.  The podcast celebrates the thirty-sixth anniversary of former Mayor Harold Washington’s Executive Order 85-1 that prohibited city agencies, including the police, from cooperating with the enforcement activities of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.  After the Chicago City Council enacted an ordinance sharing Mayor Washington’s goals twelve years ago, the City Council recently added new amendments to Chicago’s Welcoming City Ordinance, signed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot on February 23, 2021.   The podcast commends the activism of the Chicago Immigration Working Group for its efforts to build a truly welcoming city.  To that end, that Group reminded all that “to be a true welcoming city, Chicago must start to divest from criminalization, begin to invest in our communities, and ensure true police accountability.” (press release celebrating the new amendments which includes the list of the diverse groups that constitute the Chicago Immigration Working Group):  https://www.icirr.org/News/Welcoming-City-Ordinance-is-a-win-by-and-for-our-communities%2C-but-work-remains-to-be-done

For more information on Chicago’s response to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and Mayor Harold Washington’s issuance of his Executive Order 85-1, see “A Clear View from the Prairie: Harold Washington and the People of Illinois Respond to Federal Encroachment of Human Rights,” 29 S. Ill. L. J. 285 (Fall, 2004/Winter, 2005):

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2997657

 

Lawful Assembly 9: To Do A Blessing

This is a podcast interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin, founder and former Director of the Midwest Immigrant Rights Center and an Adjunct Faculty member at DePaul University’s College of Law and The Grace School of Applied Diplomacy.  Inspired by the Rev. Dr. Silvester S. Beaman’s benediction from the inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on January 20, 2021, this podcast urges those seeking to reform immigration law to seek our common humanity.  Recognizing the whirlwind of changes in immigration and refugee law from 2017 to the present, the podcast suggests we have to consider what we owe to those who have contributed to the growth of our nation as we reconsider how best to reform our nation’s laws.  To listen to the benediction of the Rev. Dr. Silvester S. Beaman, Pastor of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Wilmington, Delaware, see:  https://bethelwilmington.org

To read more of how Abraham Lincoln understood his motivation for the Emancipation Proclamation, see, Garry Wills, Lincoln at Gettysburg, The Words That Remade America, (Simon & Schuster, New York, N.Y., 1992) pp. 143-44.

For a compilation of the many changes that occurred within immigration law and policy since 2017 and some of the projected proposals for change, see:  https://www.aila.org/advo-media/issues/all/first-100-days

Episode 7: Can It Be Fair Process?

Can It Be Fair Process Without a Fair Process to File an Asylum Application?

This episode is an interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin, an Adjunct Faculty member at DePaul University’s College of Law and The Grace School of Applied Diplomacy. He responds to the federal government’s proposed regulations that would change the time limit for filing an asylum application before an Immigration Judge. These proposed rules will hinder the ability of individuals to pursue cases without lawyers and increase the difficulty of pro bono representation by volunteer lawyers.   We encourage you to file your own comments opposing part or all of the proposed procedures and asking the government to withdraw the entire proposed rule.  To assist you in obtaining a link to the proposed procedures or in filing your comment, you may incorporate your remarks into one of the templates provided by the following:

Our colleagues at the National Immigrant Justice Center have provided sample comments and a link to file comments at:   https://immigrantjustice.salsalabs.org/protectasylum/index.html?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=4dcbbfd7-b673-4263-9b92-abc70008cc18

You may also find the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s template at: https://www.aila.org/takeaction#/89

Both websites provide additional information on how the proposed regulations prevent bona fide applicants from litigating their cases.  To be accepted by the government, please ensure your comments are filed on or before 11:59 p.m. EDT, Friday, October 23, 2020.

The critical point remains that you choose at least one element of the proposed rules that you believe is incompatible with our nation’s commitment to fair process to achieve justice and make your voice heard.

If you are curious about the details necessary to file a complete asylum application, you can view the ten-page form and the instructions at:  https://www.uscis.gov/i-589

 

Please note, American Baptist Churches v. Thornburgh,  760 F.Supp. 796 (N.D. Ca. 1991), was actually settled on January 31, 1991 instead of 1990 as stated in the podcast.    

 

 

Episode 4: Help Our System of Justice Work Best

This episode is an interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin, founder and former Executive Director of the Midwest Immigrant Rights Center which later became the National Immigrant Justice Center (www.immigrantjustice.org), and an Adjunct Faculty member at DePaul University’s College of Law and The Grace School of Applied Diplomacy. He responds to the federal government’s proposed regulations that would limit the discretion of Immigration Judges and change the procedure for appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals.  These proposed rules will hinder the ability of individuals to pursue cases without lawyers and increase the difficulty of pro bono representation by volunteer lawyers.   Cumulatively, if implemented, they will harm our communities and undermine our system of justice.  We encourage you to file your own comments opposing part or all of the proposed procedures and asking the government to withdraw the entire proposed rule.  To assist you in obtaining a link to the proposed procedures or in filing your comment, you may incorporate your remarks into one of the templates provided by the following:

Our colleagues at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. have provided sample comments and a link to file comments at:  https://cliniclegal.org/resources/federal-administrative-advocacy/clinic-template-comment-eoir-proposed-rule

You may also find the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s template at:

https://www.aila.org/takeaction#/88

Both websites provide additional information on how the proposed regulations restrict access to the courts and prevent bona fide applicants from litigating and their cases.  To be accepted by the government, please ensure your comments are filed on or before 11:59 p.m. EDT, Friday, September 25, 2020.

The critical point remains that you choose at least one element of the proposed rules that you believe is incompatible with our nation’s commitment to fair process to achieve justice and make your voice heard.

Justice Ginsburg’s law review article, “In Pursuit of the Public Good: Access to Justice in the United States,” 7 Washington University Journal of Law & Policy 1, 8 (2001) can be found at: https://openscholarship.wustl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1534&context=law_journal_law_policy

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals case can be found at page 8 of Meza Morales v. Barr, 2020 WL 5268986, (7th Cir.).

The TRAC Immigration report from Syracuse University on “The Life and Death of Administrative Closure” can be found at:  https://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/623/ (September 10, 2020).

Please share this podcast and links with members of your community or faith organizations, family members and friends.  Encourage them to file comments to help ensure that our nation continues its commitment to a fair process and access to justice.  Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Episode 2: New Opportunity to Oppose Proposed Regulations Precluding Asylum Eligibility

 

This episode is an interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin founder and former Executive Director of the Midwest Immigrant Rights Center and an Adjunct Faculty member at DePaul University’s College of Law and The Grace School of Applied Diplomacy. He talks about responding to the federal government’s proposed regulations that would make asylum seekers ineligible for asylum and related remedies based on purported public health considerations.   We encourage you to file your own comments opposing part or all of the proposed procedures and asking the government to withdraw the entire proposed rule.  To assist you in obtaining a link to the proposed procedures or in filing your comment, you may incorporate your remarks into one of the templates provided by the following:

The National Immigrant Justice Center’s template.

If you are concerned about unaccompanied minors or children refugee issues, you can use the Young Center’s template.

Both websites provide additional information on how the proposed regulations restrict access to the courts and prevent bona fide applicants from presenting their cases for asylum.  To be accepted by the government, please make sure your comments are filed on or before 11:59 p.m. EDT, Monday, August 10 2020.

For additional information on the pretext of the public health need for these proposals, see:  https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/resource/new-asylum-ban-recycled-pretext-proposed-rule-would-illegally-unjustly-bar-many-asylum

 

Please share this podcast and links with members of your community or faith organizations, family members and friends.  Encourage them to file comments to help ensure that our nation continues to offer shelter for refugees in need.  Thank you for your consideration of this request.

 

Your Opportunity to Respond to Proposed Changes Restricting Asylum in the United States [Podcast]

Listen to the podcast:

This is a podcast interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin founder and former Executive Director of the Midwest Immigrant Rights Center and an Adjunct Faculty member at DePaul University’s College of Law and The Grace School of Applied Diplomacy. He talks about responding to the federal government’s proposed regulations entitled “Procedures for Asylum and Withholding of Removal; Credible Fear and Reasonable Fear Review.”

We encourage you to file your own comments opposing part or all of the proposed procedures and asking the government to withdraw the entire proposed rule.  To assist you in obtaining a link to the proposed procedures or in filing your comment, you may incorporate your remarks into one of the templates provided by the following:

The National Immigrant Justice Center offers this template for any community member concerned about access to asylum:

If you are concerned about unaccompanied minors or children refugee issues, you might find the template of the Young Center helpful:

Both websites provide additional information on how the proposed regulations restrict access to the courts and prevent bona fide applicants from presenting their cases for asylum.  Please make sure your comments are filed on or before 11:59 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, July 15, 2020.

Please share this podcast and links with members of your community or faith organizations, family members and friends.  Encourage them to file comments to help ensure that our nation continues to offer shelter for refugees in need.  Thank you for your consideration of this request.

If you would like more information about the documentary, “Brightness of Noon, the Intersect of Faith, Refugees and Immigrants, Part II,”

When Justice Prevails

“Justice prevailed this week” was the statement made at a modest staff meeting. Justice prevailed? Considering everything going on, it’s hard to see justice prevailing. “With the two Supreme Court rulings.” Ah, yes, the DACA and LGBTQ+ cases. “Would you be willing to write a blog piece on how these connect to the Vincentian story?”

Yes. The requestor knew that I possess a keen interest in Vincentian history and values and in trying to discern how those play out in twenty-first-century America and that I could write about it. What they probably didn’t know was that I have had the experience of a former boss responding to a 2008 announcement that I was getting married to my female partner by saying, “Wonderful news! Congratulations! You do realize that since you work in ministry, you could lose your job if someone decides to make you the focus of a morals campaign, right? But don’t worry, DePaul would find you another job internally!”  I also have a spouse who came out as transgender last year. I watched them navigate the process at their workplace, anxious about the reaction of managers and colleagues, and wondering if they had trashed their hopes for a promised promotion despite workplace protections. It all seemed to rely on the good will of others, a seemingly shaky foundation in a time of partisan divide and culture wars.

What I have not experienced is being a vulnerable DACA recipient, nor their family and loved ones, relieved at yet another reprieve but having to listen to the President of the United States tell his supporters, “People don’t understand, but we actually won on DACA yesterday…. We actually won, because [the court] basically said, ‘You won, but you have to come back and redo it.’” Once again, their futures in the U.S. which I believe should be assured are in doubt, despite studies showing what a strong contribution immigrants in general and DACA recipients in particular make to this country.

Regardless of my personal relationship to the LGBTQ+ or DACA recipient communities, though the Court decisions made me reflect on both, the question remains the same:  how does the justice of the recent Supreme Court decisions relate to the Vincentian story? Broadly I see the connection around the value of human dignity, a Vincentian commitment to justice for all people, and a commitment to working for justice in community. On a personal level, I can view the rulings through the lens of my twelve-year experience at DePaul.

President Esteban’s recent statement on the Supreme Court DACA and LGBTQ+ rights decisions reads, “Our commitment to DACA students is rooted in our Vincentian mission to serve marginalized individuals and groups. This case, and other actions at America’s borders, sought to demean and dismiss their inherent value to American society and our community…. DePaul strives to be an inclusive community that draws on diversity as a source of learning and understanding. We are encouraged by this week’s momentous decisions, and we continue to be inspired by the legacies of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac, who instilled in us a belief in the God-given dignity of all people.”(1)

DePaul University has long supported Dreamers and DACA recipients, and this commitment can be seen in the context of its mission statement: “Motivated by the example of Saint Vincent, who instilled a love of God by leading his contemporaries in serving urgent human needs, the DePaul community is above all characterized by ennobling the God-given dignity of each person. This religious personalism is manifested by the members of the DePaul community in a sensitivity to and care for the needs of each other and of those served, with a special concern for the deprived members of society. DePaul University emphasizes the development of a full range of human capabilities and appreciation of higher education as a means to engage cultural, social, religious, and ethical values in service to others.”(2) DePaul has very publicly stood for undocumented students, providing resources, support, educational opportunity, and public affirmation in living out its mission of upholding human dignity.

I have also experienced DePaul being inclusive and just (though not always perfect) from an LGBTQIA+ perspective. I recall being at the “Out There” conference for scholars and Student Affairs personnel supporting LGBTQ Issues on Catholic Campuses, hosted by DePaul. The event had raised the ire of some who were waging a national campaign to say DePaul could not support this conference and still call itself “Catholic.” As I recall, then President Holtschneider said something along the lines of, “When other local universities had religious quotas, DePaul did not have religious quotas. When most schools restricted women to teaching or nursing, DePaul had general matriculation, and now we have same sex partner benefits, an LGBTQ Studies program, and are meeting an obvious practical need with this conference. We want our professional staff do the best job they can to support the many LGBTQ students who attend our school. It’s not particularly trail blazing stuff. The rest of you will catch up.” This, to me, was Vincentian pragmatism—meeting people where they are and attending to their human dignity while also practicing justice by challenging unjust understandings and policies.

So what must be done? What is the Vincentian story both here and beyond DePaul?

In writing about Frédéric Ozanam last year, the President of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Renato Lima de Oliveira, wrote, “what is our understanding of justice? As members of the worldwide Vincentian Family justice consists of service on behalf of those people who are poor and of the promotion of much needed structural change in present day society. Social justice implies a willingness to engage in a struggle for the rights of those persons who have been excluded from participation in Society. This understanding of justice was, in fact, one of the primary virtues of Frédéric Ozanam.”(3)

In writing about advocating for justice, my colleague and University Ombudsperson, Craig Mousin noted, “Vincent was ahead of his time and saw the importance and necessity of providing just wages and medical benefits for his employees. Ozanam and others provided spiritual and intellectual leadership in pinpointing resolutions of social questions through more just treatment of working people.”(4) The Vincentian Family of organizations is rightly focused on justice as well as charity, and systemic change is included as a core value.

Justice did prevail against naked injustice, in my opinion, with the recent Supreme Court decisions. Many, many people have worked and will continue to work on behalf of justice for these two groups of people who often face marginalization, threats to wellbeing, and dehumanization. They work knowing that individual wins are to be celebrated and “Jubilee” moments recognized and savored. Yet, like institutionalized racism, the structural oppression countering the realization of justice for undocumented people and LGBTQIA+ community members must be named and seen as alive and well and working for justice must be done in community.

Vincent and Louise established communities for the sake of mission that still exist today. Ozanam’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul went from a college-student’s dream to a modern organization with 800,000 members in 140 countries. DePaul students who participate in service and justice activities using the “Vincentians in Action” reflection model take part in community mobilization and action. They gain critical Vincentian values of being in mutual relationship with people on the margins, working together, maximizing one another’s gifts from a place of humility, and even through simple actions serving the common good to the greatest extent possible. Communities share in celebration and in pain, both when justice prevails and when it does not.

Looking at the recent Supreme Court decisions through a Vincentian lens gives me hope and a sense of broader community and possibility. This moment is tied to justice and injustice worldwide, and it provides meaning to the work I do for justice. It is a reminder that the work for justice is never finished in our imperfect world, but that there are still times that call for celebration and building strength for our continuing work.


Written by – Katie Brick

1) A. Gabriel Esteban, Ph.D., Statement from DePaul University president on U.S. Supreme Court decisions affecting DACA and LGBTQ+ rights, 18 June 2020, at: https://resources.depaul.edu/newsroom/news/press-releases/Pages/statement-from-university-president-on-supreme-court-decisions.aspx

2) DePaul University’s Mission Statement, at: https://offices.depaul.edu/mission-ministry/about/Pages/mission.aspx

3) Renato Lima de Oliveira, Justice and the Members of the Vincentian Family, 19 November 2019, at:  https://famvin.org/en/2019/11/25/justice-and-the-members-of-the-vincentian-family/

4) Craig B. Mousin, “Vincentian Leadership—Advocating for Justice,” Vincentian Heritage 26:1 (2005), 270. At: https://via.library.depaul.edu/vhj/vol26/iss1/14/

 

Supreme Court DACA Ruling and the Vincentian Mission

 

This is a podcast interview with Rev. Craig B. Mousin founder and former Executive Director of the Midwest Immigrant Rights Center and an Adjunct Faculty member at DePaul University’s College of Law. He talks about the June, 2020 18, DACA ruling by the United States Supreme Court and what DACA means for the Vincentian Community and DePaul Students.

For more information visit: National Immigrant Justice Center: immigrantjustice.org/issues/daca-and-dreamers

We reference this previous episode in this podcast: “It is more than just the dreamers”