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Evansville, Indiana
April 15, 1994     The Message
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April 15, 1994

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Apdl! Perspective--- Thanking God for being unique it IB PAUL 11. INGANG EDITOR One person at the table said she used to operate a drapery shop. The next person said she and five of her seven children had spent some weeks visiting in Germany. One by one, the people at the table were telling the group some personal things -- about them- selves, their families and their jobs. The last item each person was' asked to reveal was something unique. This is what we had asked them to do: Tell us something about yourself that no one else here at this table can say. Tell us some- thing you have done, or experienced -- something that makes you unique. One by one, the dozen or so persons responded. One had touched John F. Kennedy on the shoulder during a campaign stop in the sixties. One man had spent two years in the armed services, stationed at a women's military base. One woman admitted -- with embarrassment and a bit of a shud- der -- that she had accidentally killed a pet gerbil which was trying to escape from its cage. We all ad- mitted that that was a unique expe- rience. A new convert to Catholicism related the fact that he was the newest Catholic in the group -- having been initiated and con -' firmed at the Easter Vigil this year. It was an enjoyable way to "break the ice" -- to begin a meeting. Some of the people around the table knew each other. Others were strangers. Before long, everybody knew each bit better. The thought struck me as I began t about this experience, that this be a useful way to prepare for prayer. me, at times the practice of praying sli than-uplifting litany of asking God Every once in a while, at least, to give thanks to God for what we lave ceived. Among God's greatest gifts love of another, and the unique gift peated self. No one else in the world, future, ever was or will ever be, exactly like me. Perhaps the way to begin such a thanks -- whether in a fanily group quiet room alone -- is to break the ice knowledgment that each of us is unique What have you done that What has God done for you? : The MESSAGE 4200 N. Kentucky Ave. Evansville, IN 47720-0169 Weekly newspaper of the Diocese of Evansville Published weekly except last week in December by the Catholic Press of Evansville Publisher .............. Bishop Gerald A. Getlelfinger Editor ...................................... i,..,.Paul Leingang Production Manager ........................... Phil Ber Circulation ................................... Amy Housman Advertising .................................... Paul Nexand Stafff writer ............................ Mary Ann Hughes Address all communications to P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724-0169 Subscription rate: $15.00 per year Single Copy Price: $.50 Entered as 2nd class matter at the post office in Evansville, IN 47701. Publw.a- tion number 843800. Postmaster: Return POD forms 3579 to Office of Publication Cop 1994  Pre o( E about terrorism and rising crime rates with a boom in legal and illegal immigration and asylum claims, the Clinton administration recently intro- duced proposals ,to beef up im- migration enforcement and re- vamp the asylum system. More than 150 bills have been introduced in Congress addressing some aspect of the immigration and asylum process, while legislative and administrative changes are pending, existing laws seem to be pressing hard against peo- ple around the country. If a recent push to clear backlogs of asylum claims is any example, administration attempts to speed up that process will only lose people with good claims "between the cracks," said Teresa Hensley, an attorney with the Catholic Legal Immigration Network who works in the Diocese of Salt Lake City, Utah. The last few weeks have brought a flurry of rejected asylum claims -- 26 of 30 cases -- as local hearing officers responded to an order to clear their desks of current files, she said. "More often than not, these are the people I've been sitting in my office crying with for six months as they have told me their stories," Ms. Hensley said. Among those is a 17-year-old Serbian student who was told by the Immigration and Natu- To the editor, I have never been prouder of the Catholic school system than I was when I picked up the Courier on this Saturday morning and saw the page one story about Saturday make-up classes. All the good things that we can be -- innovative, pioneer- ing, independent -- were em- bodied in that headline. Be- cause we are unfettered by the cumbersome and costly bu- reaucracy that strangles the public school system, (not the least of which is the teachers' union) we are not restricted by ralization Service that he must leave, even though his father was killed, his mother is in a refugee camp and his brother is in hiding after being at- tacked by German nationalists when he fled to that country. Another rejected claim came from a Russian grandmother who left her home after a life- time of threats and intimida- tion ranging from having swastikas painted on her home to seeing neighbors' houses burned and having her pets killed as a warning. "This woman is clearly not a threat to our economic sys- tem," but she's been told she's going back to where her family has a generations-long history of persecution," Ms. Hensley said. Meanwhile, in Minnesota, a turkey processing plant in one small town has been raided by the INS three times recently. A total of 150 people have been arrested and deported, most to Mexico, said Father Anthony Stubeda, director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry in the New Ulm Diocese. A televised report of one raid, followed by a piece on the estimated costs of illegal immi- grants to social welfare pro- grams typifies "a mood throughout the country that somehow we're being flooded with undocumented workers," said Father Stubeda. what the TV coverage neglected to point Saturday school "one size fits all" decisions. The ability to teach Catholic and Christian doctrine is, of course, our primary entitle- ment. But we must continue to seek ways to exercise our free- dom in a way that will benefit our young people. This is our strength and our salvation. Oh, yes, and I loved this line in the Courier story: "Parents will be expected to get their children to school." Isn't that refreshing? Ray Lasher St. Theresa Parish Evansville out, however, is that because those arrested had jobs, they almost certainly were ineligi- ble for any kind of tax-sup- ported benefits. The reporting also over- looked what Father Stubeda sees as a key, neglected point in debates about whether im- migrants are adding to the na- tion's woes. "That turkey plant wouldn't be able to survive without the people who are willing to work for low wages," he said. "There's been very little public discussion about why these people are here. "Nobody even asks why a place with a work force of 500 or 600 people can have 150 people arrested in six months. If the jobs weren't here, they wouldn't come. How do they know to come 13,000 people in Despite obj! proach being eral who work would-be refugeeS, tration believes preferable to Senior Austin said Doris Meissner and a to "legislate . recent strategY Across the has been tighten up Austin. support to then it dissip comes down to Bishop's The following activities and events schedule of Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger' r Advertising Policy Acceptance of political ad- vertising by the Message does not indicate endorse- ment of or opposition to a candidate, political party or a matter brought before the people in a referendum. WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Turkey-pluckers in Minnesota, a 17-year-old Serbianexchange student and a Russian Jewish grandmother are among recent losers in efforts being made to crack down on who is allowed to stay in this country and under what circumstances. Their cases, drawn from the daily workload of Catholic so- cial agencies, are just a few ex- amples of the type of stories rarely heard in the push to streamline asylum procedures and crackdown on illegal immi- gration. The push is being fueled by a society that holds the stereo- type of immigrants entering the country to steal jobs and abuse welfare. Amid election-year political rhetoric that has linked Cali- fornia's weak economy, fears By PATRICIA ZAPOR Catholic News Service Washington Letter .... Immigrants: Who stays? Who leaves? Who decides