Immigration Reform

The cry for Immigration Reform is a cry for justice and respect for the human person. All persons have a right to seek safety and a means of livelihood. The Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart believe our country, among the most developed in the world, has an obligation to accommodate this human right along with the duty to regulate such immigration.

General Information

Our concern for the immigrant begins with the Holy Family themselves. Jesus and his parents fled to safety shortly after His birth. Today, families still leave their homelands for safety, but also for medical care, for employment and many other personal reasons.
Over 11 million unauthorized immigrants reside within U.S. borders. The need to reform our Immigration laws has passed a critical point. Immigration Reform, as envisioned in a bill passed in 2012 by the U.S. Senate and supported by the White House, has failed to pass the U.S. House of Representatives. Because of the impasse, people live in fear of deportation, fear that their families will be torn apart and willing to take extraordinary, often foolish risks to achieve residency status.

The Big Picture

Most Americans do not understand how outdated and broken our Immigration system is. They hear:

“Unauthorized immigrants take away jobs!”
“Unauthorized immigrants are circumventing the system!”

The truth is that even those waiting in the “legal” line have to wait decades because the U.S. hasn’t adjusted the limits, keeping families separated and likely to suffer economic and emotional strain as a result.

  • It is true that most unauthorized immigrants come to the U.S. to find work; but only because the situation in their own country has become intolerable.
  • In this global economy, we cannot evade the influence our own ‘developed’ way of life may be impacting or contributing to the problems that unauthorized immigrants are fleeing. Such root causes need attention in any successful comprehensive immigration reform.
  • Finally, the “jobs” that unauthorized immigrants might find in the U.S. are most often underpaid, performed under unjust circumstances or risky conditions.

“Who among us has wept for these things, and things like this? Who has wept for the deaths of these brothers and sisters? Who has wept for the people who were on the boat? For the young mothers carrying their babies? For these men who wanted something to support their families?” Pope Francis

The GNSH Response

The Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart advocate for fair treatment of unauthorized immigrants and for comprehensive legal reform. We co-sponsor with seven other Congregations of Women Religious, the Asylee Women Enterprise (AWE) which helps women seeking asylum to rebuild their lives and their spirits. AWE provides transitional housing, companionship community and legal assistance to women seeking asylum by offering a safe and nurturing home, opportunities to connect with women in the larger community and each other. Unlike a refugee, an asylum-seeker seeks protection while on U.S. soil.

A Grey Nuns also ministers at a safe house called Dawn’s Place, with women who have been victims of human trafficking.


For all those who see “home” and all it means
Disappear behind them;
For all those who cannot see a home
In the days ahead of them;
For all those who dwell in
Daily insecurity;
For all those who are weary and
Without a safe place to rest their heads;
For all families in migration we pray.

May the image of the Holy Family
Fleeing oppression
Stay with us each night
As we are blessed
With returning to a home.

May we also be blessed
With compassion for those
Still weary, still seeking,
Still with so far to go.

— by Jane Deren, 2007

 For More Information

US Bishops on Immigration Reform
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US political perspective on Immigration
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The Grey Nuns