How Can We Help?

    06.22.18 | by Rev. Kathy Lee-Cornell

    Ways to Support Children & Families in Immigration Detention 

    Following the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance model of standing in the GAP during times of crises, here are a few ways you can give, act, and pray. 

    GIVE

    The U.S. government does not provide legal counsel to immigrants navigating the complex deportation proceedings or asylum seeking process. In 2014, 72% of children where not represented by attorneys in their hearings (according to federal data analyzed by Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse). 

    • RAICES (the Refugee & Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services) is the largest the largest immigration legal services provider in Texas. This nonprofit provides free and low-cost legal services to immigrant children, families and refugees in Texas. In 2017, RAICES closed 51,000 cases at no cost to clients. Contribute to the legal fund for unaccompanied children and efforts to reunite families and sign up as a volunteer. raicestexas.org 
    • ACLU (the American Civil Liberties Union)’s Immigrants’ Rights Project is advocating for the immediate release of all parents and children held at detention centers. Through targeted impact litigation and advocacy, the ACLU has been on the forefront of almost every major legal struggle for upholding immigrants’ rights, including practices that deny immigrants access to the courts, impose indefinite and mandatory detention, and discriminate on the basis of nationality. Make a gift, become a member, and find ways to advocate. aclu.org 
    • KIND’s (Kids in Need of Defense): One of KIND’s missions is to ensure that no child appears in immigration court without high quality legal representation. KIND also works in countries of origins, transit, and destination to offer solutions to migration that are in the best interest of the child. Donate or volunteer (no immigrant law experience required). www.supportkind.org

    ACT
    • Advocate: Call 1-866-961-4293 three times to reach your representative and senators. Tell them your stance on immigration and the practice of detaining refuge and asylum seekers. Share a personal story about the importance of refugees to you, your faith, your community, your business, etc. Ask for specific action to be taken by Congress to end cruel and inhumane treatment of children and families fleeing violence. 
    • The Human Rights Initiative of North Texas conducts trainings and places cases with a network of pro bono lawyers. Staff attorneys provide supervision and support on cases. HRI assists Unaccompanied Minors with Special Immigrant Juvenile Visas and represents immigrants and families with asylum cases. Volunteers are needed to screen clients, as well as take cases. hrionline.org 

    • CARA Family Detention Pro Bono Project: There are approximately 1,000 mothers and their children detained at Dilley Detention Center. The greatest need is for attorneys, law students, and paralegals with interest and experience in asylum work. Spanish fluency or collaborating with an interpreter preferred. To volunteer, please complete the Dilley Volunteer Sign-up Form. To learn more about the Dilley Pro Bono Project, and how you can help, please contact Volunteer Coordinator, Caya Simonsen at  .

    • Interfaith Welcome Coalition (IWC) is a San Antonio based coalition of faith communities, organizations, and individuals. PC(USA) pastor, the Rev. Kelly Allen, was one of the founders of this movement. IWC works collaboratively to welcome and walk alongside refugees, asylum seekers, and at-risk immigrants. One of the initiatives of IWC is the Backpack Ministry. $25 will fill one backpack with important personal supplies as families journey across the U.S. to reunite with loved ones. www.interfaithwelcomecoalition.org

     

    PRAY

    Immigrants’ Creed (by Rev. Jose Luis Casal) 

    I believe in almighty God, who guided God’s people in exile and in exodus, the God of Joseph in Egypt and of Daniel in Babylon, the God of foreigners and immigrants.
     
    I believe in Jesus Christ a displaced Galilean, who was born away from his people and his home, who had to flee the country with his parents when his life was in danger, and who upon returning to his own country had to suffer the oppression of the tyrant Pontius Pilate, the servant of a foreign power. He was persecuted, beaten, tortured and finally accused and condemned to death unjustly. But on the third day, this scorned Jesus rose from the death, not as a foreigner but to offer us citizenship in heaven.
     
    I believe in the Holy Spirit, the eternal immigrant from God’s kingdom among us, who speaks all languages, lives in all countries, and reunites all races.
     
    I believe that the church is the secure home for all foreigners and believers who constitute it, who speaks the same language and have the same purpose.
     
    I believe that the communion of saints begins when we accept the diversity of the saints. 
     
    I believe in the forgiveness, which makes us all equal, and in the reconciliation, which identifies us more than does race, language or nationality.
     
    I believe that in the Resurrection, God will unite us as one people in which all are distinct and all are alike at the same time.
     
    I believe in the eternal life beyond this world, where no one will be an immigrant but all will be citizens of God’s Kingdom that has no end.  Amen.