Jesus did not “give away” his garments; his life connections, his humanness, they were taken from him. Families seeking a better life do not “give away” their human connections, they are taken from them.
Jesus did not ask for asylum, and no one stepped forward to provide it.
Who are we in this scenario?
There are paths we can take to offer aid. Below is a link to a local organization that provides help to those that need it, and where you can find your place in today’s scenario:
ULSTER IMMIGRANT DEFENSE NETWORK
30 Pine Grove Avenue Kingston, NY 12401
Go to Facebook page: Ulster Immigrant Defense Network – Red de Defensa de Inmigrantes de Ulster | Facebook
And website: The Ulster Immigrant Defense Network – Because We All Belong
Welcome the Stranger
“We need to finally leave our country’s long history of criminalizing immigration and separating families behind.”
— Pramila Jayapal
“Every day of delay feels like an eternity for a parent who’s separated from their child.”
— Erika Pinheiro, Immigration Attorney
This dark chapter of our history must not be repeated:
“The barbaric family separation practice was immoral and illegal,” said Lee Gelernt, the lead lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the policy. “At a minimum, Justice Department lawyers should have known the latter. This new report shows just how far the Trump administration was willing to go to destroy these families. Just when you think the Trump administration can’t sink any lower, it does.”
Democrats on Capitol Hill, citing the report, said they would hold Trump administration officials to account even after President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. takes office next week.
“Those who planned and executed the zero-tolerance policy will have to live with the knowledge that their cruelty and cowardice are responsible for the scars these children will carry for the rest of their lives,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, who promised hearings when he assumes the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee next week. “They must be held accountable for the fundamental human rights violations that they perpetrated.”
–New York Times, January 2021
Witness: An important word in relation to the migrant situation. It is a legal word, a religious word, to bear witness of God’s solutions, too. There are parallels of witness at the border and witnessing these Stations of the Cross.
Read some personal accounts:
I Spent 5 Days At The Largest Migrant Refugee Camp On The U.S. Border. Here’s What I Saw. | HuffPost
Witness at the Border
Alejandro Mayorkas, whose nomination as Homeland Security secretary was confirmed Tuesday by the Senate, will lead a task force on family separation, focused largely on reuniting parents and children who remain apart. It is unclear exactly how many, but about 5,500 children have been identified in court documents as having been separated during Trump’s presidency, including about 600 whose parents have yet to be found by a court-appointed committee.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which sued to reunite families, has asked the administration for legal status in the United States for families that have been separated, as well as financial compensation for those families and attorneys at government expense. ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said he would be “extremely disappointed” if the task force limits its scope to helping find parents of the remaining 600 children.
A review of border security will include a policy that makes asylum-seekers wait in Mexican border cities for hearings in U.S. immigration court. It is a step toward fulfilling a campaign pledge to end the “Remain in Mexico” policy, known officially as Migrant Protection Protocols, which enrolled nearly 70,000 asylum-seekers since it began in January 2019.
— Biden signs a spate of immigration orders but still needs support in Congress to do more (msn.com)
Artist Michele Angela Ortiz creates murals, videos, performance art, etc., in response to the atrocities in the lives of migrants seeking safety . Learn more: MICHELLE ANGELA ORTIZ
View her artwork, listen to stories from migrants in a special project: Familias Separadas
Purchase and view this documentary: https://www.lasmadresdeberks.com
Follow her work on Facebook and Instagram
From NPR: Essay: Las Madres de Berks captures inhumanity at Pa. detention center – WHYY
Immigrant Children Separated From Parents At The Border: What We Know : NPR
In 55 percent of child separation cases, the adult was deported alone while the child remained in the United States. Some children whose parents were deported will never see their parents again.
Family separations continue in South Texas, years after they allegedly ended — TCRPMag (txcivilrights.org)
ICE is ending long-term immigrant family detention (msn.com)
Asylum Seekers Enter U.S. After Biden Ends Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy – Bloomberg
3/4/2021: Biden Administration Moves To Speed Up Processing Of Migrants In Family Detention : NPR
3/13/2021: Kids detained in overcrowded border facility are terrified, crying and worried, lawyers say – CNN
3/15/2021: Omar urges end to prison contracts to fix ‘abuse-ridden’ immigration detention system | US immigration | The Guardian
Detained friends find themselves isolated from all contact with family and friends. Someone to write and correspond with can make a big difference.
Here is one organization that can help you get started: Become a Pen Pal – First Friends of New Jersey and New York (firstfriendsnjny.org)
There are many issues with detention of asylum seekers. Facilities all over the US are making money by detaining immigrants.
Berks is nearby in Pennsylvania.
Write postcards to Washington on the theme: End Immigrant Detention. Here are some suggested talking points. Please hit one or more of these points:
Talking points for: End Immigrant Detention:
– The entire system of detaining asylum seekers and immigrants must end.
– Children and families are still being held in Family Detention Centers! #FreeTheFamlies
– Should humans be treated like criminals for simply seeking asylum?
– Immigrant detention is a huge money maker – 80% of immigrants are incarcerated in prisons owned by private companies.
– End all private prisons!
– ICE acts with impunity, with disregard for Congressional oversight.
– Abuse in immigrant detention facilities, from the notorious lack of medical care to sexual abuse, forced sterilization, and use of severe punishments such as isolation for perceived behavioral infractions, is rampant.
– In 2020, 21 people died in ICE detention.
– During the COVID 19 pandemic, detained immigrants are in danger. People have not been released by ICE and COVID is spreading within facilities and in communities with ICE facilities.
– Humane alternatives to detention where asylum seekers and immigrants can be with their families or sponsors as they wait for their court hearings exist.
– Alternatives take much less taxpayer money to implement.
– Do not build new detention centers.
– Do not renew contracts.
– Dismantle detention centers.
Addresses to mail cards:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
Vice President Harris
The White House
Office of the Vice President
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
The Honorable Alejandro Mayorkas
Secretary of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528
The Honorable Xavier Becerra
Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201
Help the Campaign to Shut Down Berks – Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition:
The Justice for Our Neighbors network provides free or low-cost immigration legal services to vulnerable immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.
JFON is a United Methodist Immigration Ministry. You can donate through the United Methodist Church Advance #901285
Or donate directly to the NY Chapter: New York Justice For Our Neighbors | Kindful
National Justice For Our Neighbors employs a small staff at its headquarters in Fairfax County, VA, just outside of Washington, D.C. The NJFON office supports 19 JFON sites across the country, located in 18 states and the District of Columbia. Together, these sites operate over 50 clinics, many of which have found a home in United Methodist Churches.
In clinics, volunteers set appointments, welcome clients, conduct intake interviews with new clients, and much more. Staff attorneys meet with clients in confidential sessions to provide advice and counsel. Many clients are then taken on for full representation by the JFON staff attorney. Staff and volunteers at JFON sites advocate for immigration reform that reflects the shared values of fairness and equality. Every opportunity is taken to educate communities about immigration issues and laws. JFON strives to keep families together and to provide our immigrant neighbors with hospitality, compassion, and respect.
Home – National Justice for Our Neighbors (njfon.org)
Signs of Hope…
Children are no longer being separated from their parents at the border.
The camp in Matamoros is officially closed. People have been United with family in the US.
—Mexican camp that was symbol of migrant misery empties out under Biden | Reuters
On February 2,2021, President Biden signed series of Executive orders to put an end to policies that harm children at the southern border. A task force was created to reunite children with their families. The task force is also charged with providing mental health and trauma services to support affected children and their families.
—Biden creates task force for separated families, orders review of border and immigration policies – CBS News
Sustained efforts have been made and continue to reunite children with their parents or other relatives.
The current challenge is unaccompanied children continue to arrive at the southern border. They are receiving care while efforts are ongoing to unite them with family or caretaking adults.
—Save the Children International — This charity has received a high rating by independent evaluators.
—Mexico: Rising number of migrant children pushing shelters to capacity | Save the Children International
UMCOR and UMC Global Ministries is actively supporting a variety of efforts at the southern border.
—UMCOR’s Work on the U.S.-Mexico border – Global Ministries (umcmission.org)
—GIVE – Global Ministries (umcmission.org)
The Rio Texas Conference of UMC is doing work to help all in need along 400 plus miles of the US Mexico border…since 1999.
—Rio Texas Annual Conference
Work is underway to bring back parents to reunite them with their children:
—Border-separation resolution starting (nwaonline.com)
—Separated families: Biden reunification program seeks to undo Trump border policy – The Washington Post
—“I Longed for That Hug”: A Mother Reunites With Her Sons Four Years After Being Separated at the Border – Mother Jones
Special thanks to Mary Rappleyea and Jane Ruback for researching this social justice issue
Each station was researched by one or more members of our church community to help provide the detailed information that has been presented. Are you interested in this social justice issue? Do you have additional information or action items that you would like to share? If so, email us at email@example.com. These web pages are a dynamic, active work in progress, just like the people of our community!