Monday, April 11, 2011


After having met with students at Notre Dame University recently, I am more convinced than ever that our young adults on our Catholic colleges and universities are the ones to make immigration reform possible.

These young men and women truly "get it" when discussing immigration issues. Why? Because they actually know other college students like themselves who are unauthorized residents--young people brought to this country as minors, and who have worked hard to get a good college education. What's different? After graduation, these industrious college graduates cannot get a job that matches their education because they do not have resident documents.

Both Notre Dame University and De Paul University in Chicago are taking leadership roles in this effort. We will begin with a "Mid-west Circle" of some 63 Catholic colleges/universities in that circle, and gradually network the remaining 177 Catholic institutions.

Our focus will be almost entirely on the students at these campuses, and their suggestions will help create a Website, Facebook page, and other networking links among the 240 campuses.

Existing student campus organizations will be the ones approached first to see if immigration issues is a topic that falls under their umbrella of purpose and activities. It's always better to work with existing groups on campus rather than to create a new one.

One of the main tasks of the campus groups will be to help inform the other students about the various immigration issues. But these groups will also sponsor special Prayer Days for immigrants, forums to discuss the issues, and advocacy on local and federal legislation such as the DREAM Act.

The young men and women on our Catholic campuses of higher education will provide a Gospel-based wave of energy and enthusiasm to protect the rights of our immigrant brothers and sisters.

Jesus' words continue to call for our full response: "For I was a stranger and you welcomed me"! [Matthew 25:35]