Amidst a long and protracted political debate over immigration reform and federal inaction, California has been steadily moving towards effectively providing legal status to undocumented immigrants across the state.
Democrat Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation earlier this week striking the word "alien" from the state's labor code, as well as a measure allowing unauthorized immigrants to serve as election poll workers. Already statewide, undocumented immigrants have been appointed to state or local governmental positions in California.
According to The Associated Press, over 50 percent of new drivers licenses issued in California are given to unauthorized immigrants. The state also allows unauthorized immigrants to receive in-state tuition, and access to state healthcare programs. more >>
Pope Francis has called on world powers to take action and help migrants who are fleeing violence and seeking refuge in Europe and the U.K. The pontiff made his call to action as part of a speech in which he condemned governments that refuse to accept the refugees into their countries and provide them with assistance and shelter, saying their actions are nothing short of a "crime."
Francis spoke out about the refugee crisis to members of the Eucharistic Youth Movement on the island of Lampedusa in southern Italy earlier this month, after 200 dead bodies were found near a capsized boat close by, as reported by the Gazzetta del Sud.
The pope also called on residents to remember the mostly Muslim Rohingya refugees as "brothers" from Myanmar and Bangladesh who have been refused entry in to Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia as well as the 170,000 that reached Italy by ship last year, as recorded by the International Organization for Migration data. more >>
Rosa Robles Loreto, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, has spent over a year living inside a Tucson Presbyterian Church because she fears U.S. immigration officials will deport her.
Robles Loreto has received sanctuary at Southside Presbyterian Church (USA) since Aug. 7, 2014, and vows to stay until immigration officials provide assurance that they will not deport her and separate her family.
"It's like I lost a year," she commented in a Fox News Latino report. The 42-year-old woman has two sons, ages 9 and 12, who were born in Mexico and have grown up in the U.S. She has lived in Tucson since 1999, but returned to Mexico to give birth to them. Her husband and sons are all living in Arizona illegally, but do not face deportation because no one has reported them to immigration officials. more >>
Hundreds of kidnapped Arab Christians have been ransomed, tortured, beheaded and killed over the past year, including a priest who was chopped into pieces, in attempts to raise funds for radical Islamic terror groups and to strike fear into the hearts of Christians across the Middle East and throughout the world.
"Christians have become a form [of] currency in this tragedy," John Newton told The Christian Post. Newton is spokesman for Catholic relief agency Aid to the Church in Need. "I know of one priest who was kidnapped for two months ... they asked for a ransom of $120,000, which the family managed to raise and deliver. ... But hours later, the priest was killed and his body cut up, with pieces of him sent in a box to the family."
The process of trying to free kidnapped priests poses a difficult challenge. In many cases, Christian organizations are left in the dark with little information on who the kidnappers are or where the victims are being held. more >>
A Sydney-based evangelist as well as the bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), both recently condemned the crackdown on Christians under Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who had promised better treatment of religious minorities before taking office, and called for the release of prisoners of conscience, including Iranian American pastor Saeed Abedini.
"The Iranian government actively pursues Christian ministers and believers, placing them in prison under trumped up political charges, or simply killing them in accordance with their law," asserted Christian worker Marlene Mathew, who works with immigrants from the Middle East, to The Christian Post on Monday. "These people are innocent and need to be set free....In recent weeks the Iranian government has openly declared that 'Christians are enemies' who are a major threat to the state."
The USCIRF also condemned the detention of prisoners of conscience, and called for their immediate release, adding that since President Rouhani assumed office, he has failed to fulfill his promise to improve the climate for religious freedom, despite sparking hopes in 2013 when he said, "All ethnicities, all religions, even religious minorities, must feel justice," as reported by The Jerusalem Post. August marks the second anniversary of Rouhani's presidency. more >>
ERBIL, Iraq — Thousands of displaced Arab refugees, including a large number of Christians and Yazidis, are continuing to flee Iraq following the Islamic State's mass execution of around 2,000 Iraqis in the city of Nineveh — followed by a series of car bombs in Baghdad on Monday — resulting in dozens of causalities, according to Reuters.
It's been one year since the Islamic State began its reign of terror in the Sinjar and Tal Afar districts of northern Iraq's Nineveh Province, which has included a hate-fueled campaign to wipe out Christians and Yazidis as well as other religious communities.
"Islamic State has unleashed untold misery and suffering on defenseless religious and ethnic communities, while destroying treasured religious and historical sites in both Iraq and Syria," said Robert P. George, chairman of the U.S.Commission on International Religious Freedom, last week. "Muslims, Christians, Yazidis, and others are all at risk. Due to IS's reign of terror, millions of people from Iraq and Syria have been forced to flee and now are refugees or internally displaced." more >>