July 28, 2017, Chicago – Adrian Dominican Sisters Jean Keeley, OP, and Joan Mary, OP, were part of a delegation of 40 people who attended a July 10 press conference at Chicago’s Thompson Center to deliver a special letter to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. The letter, signed by 174 faith leaders, implores the governor to sign the Illinois Trust Act, which would ensure that citizens asking for help from law enforcement officials will not have to fear being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to check on their citizenship status.
The legislation was passed by the state legislature May 5 and now sits in the governor’s office. He has until Aug. 28 to approve, veto or take no action.
“As people of faith, we are called to stand in solidarity with immigrants in our midst who are in danger of having their families separated and taken away from the homes they have created in our state,” the letter reads in part. “Illinois has always chosen to act with love towards immigrants, becoming a source of stability for immigrant families. The Trust Act will reassure all immigrants that they are welcome and that the state will do everything it can to protect them and their families.”
Among the cosigners of the letter are Sister Jean; Adrian Dominican Sister JoAnn Fleischaker, OP; and a number of Dominican Sisters from other Congregations and Dominican Friars from the Central Province.
Sisters Jean and Joan were part of a five-member delegation from Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants (SBI), an organization founded in 2007 by Catholic Sisters of the Chicago area to work on initiatives of the Catholic Campaign for Immigration Reform. Membership has expanded to include associate members of religious congregations, religious brothers, and all who are committed to justice for immigrants.
The Adrian Dominican Sisters’ involvement is in keeping with the Chapter Initiative on Immigration adopted by the Congregation’s Dominican Midwest Mission Chapter, based in Chicago. Through this initiative, Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates in this Chapter commit to “answer the call to walk with immigrants in their struggle.” Individual Sisters and Associates choose to keep this commitment in various ways: by praying weekly with other people of faith at a detention center from which immigrants are deported; serving as witnesses for justice in immigration court; assisting on weekends at houses of hospitality for immigrants; working with immigrants at the Aquinas Literacy Center; and praying and advocating for immigrants.
Read more about the press conference and the Illinois Trust Act here.