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Five things your congregation can do to support immigrant justice

Five things your congregation can do to support immigrant justice 

 

1.  Learn about immigration 

 

Spend some time with your community learning more about the history of immigration in the United States.  Immigration legislation can be complex; find resources to help you decode its legalistic language and learn more about how to make change.  

 

- Hold a viewing and discussion of a film that focuses on the struggles of immigrants in the United States. 

 

- Start a book group focused on the stories of immigrants. 

 

2.  Connect with the immigrant community 

 

In order to understand how to be an effective ally in the struggle for immigrant justice, it is essential to connect with immigrant communities and to learn from them how to support their existing efforts. 

 

- Identify the immigrant-led organizations near you and learn about their work and what kinds of assistance they want. Offer to work within your own network to gather needed resources. 

 

-Attend May Day actions for immigrant and worker rights. Attend vigils and Jericho Walks to support immigrants checking in to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

 

-Connect to “deportation defense” campaigns and support groups to stand with those who are fighting their detention and deportation. 

 

3.  Help those in detention 

 

Thousands of immigrants have been separated from their families and detained in private, for-profit detention centers, and the number keeps growing.  Help those who are in detention and oppose the for-profit industry that benefits from this inhumane treatment of immigrants in the United States. 

 

- Hold a vigil raising awareness of detention and deportation. 

 

- Organize a community-wide book drive for people detained in an immigration detention center. 

 

- Gather the names each week of detainees across the state and pray for them and their families as well as for our society and government. 

 

- Start or become a volunteer with a detention visitation group to visit people being held at the detention center or in local jails on immigration holds. To learn more about visitation programs, contact freedomforimmigrants.org 

 

 4.  Consider becoming a sanctuary congregation 

 

Learn how faith communities are providing sanctuary for undocumented immigrants facing the threat of deportation, and help your own congregation to consider becoming  a sanctuary congregation. 

 

-Connect with experienced people in sanctuary congregations to learn from them. 

 

-Form a learning circle in your own congregation to explore these possibilities and discern next steps. 

 

-Learn more at sanctuarynotdeportation.org 

 

5.  Advocate for humane reform 

 

Engage elected officials about the urgent need for humane immigration policies that respect the rights of all people.  

 

-Maintain communication with your Congressional delegation and their staff with office visits, email and phone calls, as well as invitations to events. 

 

- Write a Letter to the Editor and pay attention to how the media portrays immigrants. 

 

- Hold or attend town hall meetings; ask your faith leaders to speak about the moral imperative of welcoming the stranger. 

 

 

 

These resources were drawn from work out of AFSC’s Denver Office. 

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