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Immigration 101 Update

Ronnate Asirwatham, government relations director and lead lobbyist on immigration for Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, was a guest at the September 2022 FSPA Encuentro@TheBorder presentation. Ronnate updated attendees on her 2021 summer series Immigration 101. She provided information on how the midterm election will impact immigration.


Sharing border experiences

Hand in Hand, Welcoming Migrants at the Border, features Joanna Williams, executive director of the Kino Border Initiative. Joanna shares the joys and challenges she encounters while serving thousands of migrants who are deported to Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, or arrive fleeing Central America.


Sister Norma Pimentel has been the face of compassion and care for more than 100,000 immigrants along the Texas-Mexico border. During this presentation hosted by the FSPA Encuentro@TheBorderTeam, she shares what she sees on a daily basis at the border. “Encuentro at the border is so important,” shared Sister Norma. “It is important that we really make that encounter with others, especially those who are hurting and suffering; it is only then that we will truly encounter Jesus. It’s so clear for me that God’s presence is there; it is his plan that we don’t overlook these families at the border. He wants us to be there, to be present, to encounter.”


In 2021, Sisters Rose Elsbernd, Kristin Peters, Theresa Keller and Meg Earsley, with then FSPA Justice & Peace Promoter Pat Ruda, ministered at Tuscon's Casa Alitas and with Kino Border Initiative in Nogales. Watch their story below and come back to read reflections from the experience.

In 2019, then FSPA Justice & Peace Promoter Pat Ruda and Sisters Joan Weisenbeck, Laurie Sullivan and Kathy Roberg spent two weeks at the southern border. They shared their stories with parishes and other interested groups. 

Listen: Audio file from a recent Report From the Border Community Conversation at English Lutheran Church
Download: Guide to suggested books and presentations 

Exploring Intersections: Catholic Sisters on migration, racism and climate

How can we show compassion without borders and love without boundaries? What does it take to navigate legal systems to become a citizen of a different country? What are the root causes of inequity for those who migrate? Watch this episode of Exploring Intersections featuring a conversation about migration.

Franciscan Sisters Deepen Into Migration Issues

"The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration Encuentro@The Border group grew from FSPA’s 2017 support of immigration as an issue for the congregation to explore. 'Instead of focusing merely on the meaning of “meet,” we chose to educate ourselves as to the deeper significance of immigration issues, namely the needs of people who could no longer remain in their homes and countries.'"

The Encuentro@the Border group will increase collaboration with four partner organizations in the next 1-2 years:  

1. Coulee Region Immigration Task Force: FSPA will invest to develop support to migrant families in Trempealeau County.

2. La 72 Migrant Shelter, State of Tabasco, Mexico: FSPA will invest to support immediate needs of migrants at the southern Mexico border during the COVID crisis and legal efforts for those seeking asylum.

3. KINO Border Initiative Arizona: FSPA will invest for their ministry at the border (both sides), including immediate legal orientation for asylum seekers and supporting network organizations.

4. Catholic Charities, Brownsville, Texas: FSPA will invest for their ministry at the border (both sides), including meeting immediate and short term needs, legal assistance, their “field hospital” and tent city (Matamoros), and facilitation of migrants becoming Mexican citizens in light of the current U.S. migrant stance.  We have been asked to consider some assistance for mothers with teenaged daughters in the tent city.  The teenaged girls can easily become victims of sexual violence and/or human trafficking.  Catholic Charities of Brownsville is looking to move the mothers and daughters into apartments in Matamoros.

Empowering immigrant leaders through Pastoral Migratoria: my family is not alone!

FSPA’s presence within Pastoral Migratoria is not merely monetary. Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration Katie Mitchell has been with them in Chicago, her shoes literally on the ground, marching with Pastoral Migratoria during its annual Posada for Immigration Reform. She has also participated in the Broadview Immigration Processing Center rosary prayer vigil. “My life has been changed by the many 'encuentros,' the Spanish word for encounters, I have had with my immigrant and refugee sisters and brothers,” she shares. “I have experienced God’s presence so many times in encuentros with families seeking compassion, safety and protection. Now more than ever I believe that FSPA is being called to stand up for the rights and voices of immigrants and refugees and to walk with them on their camino. Aquí está Dios. Yes,” asserts Sister Katie. “God is here.” Read the full story.

World Day of Migrants and Refugees

We joyfully recall the proclamation by Pope Francis during the Angelus in Saint Peter’s Square. His powerful words in favor of migrants, refugees and all those who support them still echo in us. Among them, Father Jalal Yako, an Iraqi Rogationist missionary, who works closely with internally displaced people and explains his experience in the camp of Erbil in this video.

We welcome SCOTUS decision on DACA

The Court’s June 19, 2020, ruling safeguards the right of 700,000 DACA recipients to live and work in the country that is their home. This is an enormous victory for the immigrant youth who have led the challenge to the Trump administration’s attempt to end the program that has protected our colleagues, students, neighbors, and friends from the threat of deportation. Read our full support on the SCOTUS decision on DACA.

Get Involved

Coulee Region Immigration Task Force
Coulee Region Immigration Task Force welcomes, advocates, and educates in the service of new, recent, and established immigrants in the Wisconsin's Coulee Region. Learn more about and volunteer with Coulee Region Immigration Task Force.

Centro Latino, La Crosse, Wisconsin
The task force welcomes La Crosse, Wisconsin's Latino population to Centro Latino located inside First Baptist Church, 1209 Main Street. Centro Latino offers free English as a second language classes as well as a welcoming space where hospitality, support and compassionate presence are extended to the Latino community. For more information, email

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