Immigration Justice

Immigration justice is one of the core justice ministries of the Wisconsin Conference. Congregations and individuals throughout the state are working to put our faith value of loving our immigrant neighbors as ourselves into practice by educating ourselves about immigration justice issues, advocating for immigrants and just immigration policies, and acting to support our immigrant neighbors with our time, our talent, and our donations.


Immigrant Welcoming Conference / Immigration Working Group

The Wisconsin Conference is an Immigrant Welcoming Conference.  To learn more about what this means and how your congregation and you can get involved in immigration justice work: Immigrant Welcoming Conference page.

Learn more about the crisis in Afghanistan and what you and your congregation can do to help

  • Welcome to Mary Gross, who will serve as the Welcoming Our Afghan Allies Partner in Service Volunteer for the Wisconsin Conference.   Mary will establish relationships with government-designated resettlement agencies and with Wisconsin conference congregations enaged in the ministry of Afghan refugee resettlement.  Contact information for Mary will be available soon.
  • Volunteer and donation needs at Fort McCoy, where some 13,000 Afghan newcomers are currently housed as they await resettlement in communities across the country (please be aware that these needs change rapidly!):
    • Catholic Charities in LaCrosse has an urgent need for volunteers.  Learn more here.
  • Information from the Office of Refugee Resettlement: Afghan Assistance Resources
  • Information on helping refugees from the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families: How Can I Help?
  • Whenever possible, congregations interested in exploring what it would mean to sponsor or otherwise actively support an Afghan refugee are encouraged to work with the refugee resettlement agency in their part of the state:

    There is another option: the Sponsor Circles Program. Per its website, “The Sponsor Circle Program is a community-led resettlement initiative that allows everyday Americans to take on the responsibility of welcoming an Afghan newcomer to their communities. An emergency response launched to ensure that all arriving Afghans receive welcome and support, the Sponsor Circle Program pairs Afghan newcomers with community groups eager to provide support.”

  • The Immigration Working Group hosted a Zoom workshop, “Scenes from Our Own Backyard: Supporting Afghan Refugees”, with Rev. Irene Hassan, Minister for Refugee and Migration Services for the UCC, on Thursday, November 4.  A recording of the workshop will be available soon.
  • Welcome.US, (Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “The State Department is partnering with Welcome.US, a non-profit, non-partisan initiative of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), to galvanize additional private sector support and resources for arriving Afghans and harness the goodwill of the American people, building on our country’s cherished tradition of private philanthropy contributing to the public good.”)
  • Resources from Church World Service (CWS):
  • UCC resources:
  • Resource from the Wisconsin Council of Churches, “Helping Refugees from Afghanistan.”
  • Information on Afghanistan refugee assistance from Catholic Charities in LaCrosse.
  • Information on Team Rubicon‘s work and donation and volunteer needs
  • Information from refugee assistance organization, HIAS:
  • Open Doors for Refugees in Madison has put together a helpful webpage, The Afghan Refugee Crisis, that gives good general information.

Information and advocacy opportunities about Haitian asylum-seekers at the Texas border

Immigration justice news and actions

  • The Immigration Working Group (IWG) hosted  a Zoom workshop, “Immigration Justice Update” on September 30.  The workshop included updates from Katie Adams, Policy Advocate for Domestic Issues in the UCC’s Washington, D.C. office, and Rev. Irene Hassan, UCC Minister for Refugee and Migration Services, as well as information on the work congregations and other groups are doing in Wisconsin and Minnesota to sponsor asylum-seeking families. The workshop was recorded; the recording is available here.
  • To learn more, watch the recordings from the Immigration Working Group’s three-part Zoom workshop series from the spring of this year, “Immigration Justice Reset”. 
    • April 20: In recognition of the many ways that justice issues intersect, this workshop, “Justice Reset: Advocating as People of Faith,” was co-sponsored by the Creation Care Team. Katie Adams, Policy Advocate for Domestic Issues in the UCC’s Washington, D.C. office, shared practical tips for effectively advocating for justice issues.
      • Access the video recording of the April 20 workshop here.
    • March 16: A conversation with Carole Anne Donohoe and Katia Cardoza of Al Otro Lado‘s Family Reunification Project about their work.
      • Access the video recording of the March 16 workshop here.
    • February 16: A conversation featuring Noel Andersen, the UCC & CWS Grassroots Coordinator for Immigrants’ Rights, the Rev. Randy Mayer of Good Shepherd UCC in Sahuarita, Arizona, Katie Adams, Policy Advocate for Domestic Issues in the UCC’s Washington, D.C. office, attorney Linda Zuba, and representatives from Al Otro Lado.
      • Access the video recording of the February 16 workshop here.
  • Read and apply critical thinking skills to:
  • Church World Service (CWS) has put together an August Recess Toolkit of resources and ways to take action at the national level.  CWS is partnering with SEIU, AFL-CIO, and other labor groups on the “We Are Home” campaign (which advocates for a “pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people and a fair, humane, and functional immigration system”); the weeks of July 12 and July 19, 2021 were designated “Immigration + Labor Weeks of Action.”
  • The Wisconsin Conference’s  Immigration Working Group urges congregations to sign and circulate this petition to make COVID-19 vaccines available in Haiti.

The country of Haiti is now experiencing an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases, and there are no vaccines currently available in Haiti.  In addition to the widespread political violence and turmoil in this ravaged nation there is now great concern that Haiti could be devasted by COVID-19.  The Wisconsin Conference Immigration Working group urges members of our congregations to sign and circulate this petition initiated by Catholiccares.org and “Faith In Action” calling upon the Biden administration to send surplus doses of vaccines to Haiti immediately.  This will both reduce the chances of additional suffering and loss of life in Haiti, and also make it less likely that Haitian immigrants carrying the virus will bring more cases into the U.S. Use this link to sign the petition.

  • The Interfaith Immigration Coalition newsletter contains a wealth of relevant advocacy information.
    • To sign up for the newsletter, visit the Interfaith Immigration Coalition webpage.
    • Current efforts include their “Faith4Asylum” campaign (focused on an end to Title 42 expulsions) and participation in the broad-based “Welcome with Dignity“campaign.
    • A few highlights from March, 2021:
      • Access the “Welcoming Migrants: Take Action Toolkit
      • View a recording of “A Faithful Response to the Border: Welcoming Migrant Children and Asylum Seekers” webinar on Facebook or Google Drive
  • In March, Noel Andersen and Church World Service issued an urgent appeal to advocate for asylum seekers, especially unaccompanied children, at the border:
    • Visit the CWS take action page to contact your representatives via email and get ideas on how to amplify the message on social media.
    • Download the CWS fact sheet on welcoming unaccompanied children here
    • CWS has also created a talking points document with messaging about FEMA at the border; download document here.
    • Another resource is Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (lirs.org); specifically their “How to Help Migrant Children at the Border” webpage.
  • Educate yourself about U.S. refugee admissions: 
    • On May 3, President Biden issued a statement revising the annual U.S. refugee admissions cap to 62,500 for this fiscal year.
      • This revision is partly in response to outcry by advocates, including Church World Service, to the presidential determination on refugee admissions announced on April 16, 2021.  (See the Church World Service Rapid Response Toolkit, shared by Noel Andersen.)
      • Later on April 16, the White House issued a brief walk-back statement.
    • International Rescue Committee Fiscal Year 2021 mid-year report, “More of the same: Biden to admit fewer refugees than any president in U.S. history.” (April, 2021)
    • For current and historical information on U.S. refugee admissions:

Links to organizations involved with immigration and immigration justice

For links to numerous state, national, and international organizations involved with immigration and immigration justice: Immigration links page

Immigration justice resources

For resources to learn more about immigration justice: Immigration justice resources page

 

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Lisa Hart

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