Church Tests Waters on Immigration Role

Episcopal News Service. March 26, 1987 [87067]

NEW YORK (DPS, March 26) -- The Episcopal Church Center Working Group on Migration Concerns, established by Presiding Bishop Edmond L. Browning, has obtained the services of two consultants to assess the ability of the Episcopal Church to participate in the Legalization program for undocumented aliens.

The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service has now set March 31, 1987 as the deadline for receiving applications by "voluntary agencies" to enter into Cooperative Agreements. Through these agreements, the voluntary organization will be permitted to assist undocumented aliens to achieve the legal status provided by the new Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). The program itself is scheduled to start next May 5.

The consultants are Dr. Antonio Curbelo and the Rev. Frances Nunn.

Curbelo, from the Diocese of Louisiana, is an Episcopalian and a native of Cuba. He graduated in 1945 from Havana University with a degree in education and did his graduate studies at Louisiana State University and Tulane University. He has had extensive experience in the field of education and has worked in the Cuban and Haitian refugee resettlement programs in Louisiana and Arkansas. For more than 20 years he has been actively engaged in working with Cuban exiles, assisting in job location and training.

Nunn is a priest in the Diocese of Virginia, where she is engaged in Hispanic ministry. A lifelong Episcopalian and a graduate of Vassar College and George Washington University Law School, she was a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice.

She now serves as vicar to the Hispanic congregation at St. Paul's Church, Palls Church, Va. and assistant at St. George's, Arlington, and Grace Church, Alexandria. Since leaving the Justice Department four years ago, she has provided legal assistance to the Hispanic poor in the immigration field.

Curbelo and Nunn currently are contacting and visiting Episcopal dioceses to determine their willingness and ability to undertake the substantial ministry of assistance to the undocumented alien which the new immigration law provides. One third of the 98 dioceses have been contacted by telephone, and Curbelo has been visiting dioceses in the Southwest and West which have heavy concentrations of foreign residents.