Over the past couple of years, policy has shifted, executive orders issued, and the general operations of agencies that address immigration, refugees, and asylum-seekers altered their protocols.
The Episcopal Church in Minnesota, along with The Episcopal Church, believe in treating ever human with dignity and respect. Furthermore, that just as Jesus taught us, we are called to welcome the stranger.
With many concerns and the issues shifting quickly, we have compiled resources to keep you up-to-date:
Learn about the issues
- Join Partners in Welcome: An on-line network and learning community dedicated to welcoming newcomers, empowering advocates, and supporting local ministries.
- Human rights first: An independent advocacy and action agency.
- UNHCR: The United Nation’s program agency that address the needs of refugees, displaces persons, and those seeking asylum around the globe.
- US Asylum Process: Worksheet that shows the asylum process within the US.
- The Episcopal Church messages:
Call elected officials
- Find who represents you
- Human rights first Action Center
- Talking points:
- Address the root causes
- Increase support for effective programs that strengthen justice systems, spur economic growth, and safeguard communities from climate displacement so that people do not need to flee in search of safety or survival.
- Use principled and strong diplomacy to urge governments to address rampant corruption and spur improvements in protecting human rights and strengthening rule of law, including by enforcing human rights and anti-corruption conditions on aid as well as levying sanctions on corrupt officials.
- Ensure U.S. foreign assistance does not go towards supporting human rights violators, increasing militarization, or otherwise exacerbating existing factors which drive people from their homes.
- Uphold access to asylum
- Expeditiously process all asylum seekers at–and between–ports of entry.
- End the Remain in Mexico (“Migration Protection Protocols”) and “metering” policies that push people to cross between ports of entry and put the lives of asylum seekers at risk as they wait in what are often dangerous situations in Mexico.
- Reverse Department of Justice ruling that deny protection to those who have fled domestic violence and gang violence, and deny bond hearings to asylum seekers who entered between ports of entry.
- Resist proposals to remove protections for vulnerable children provided by the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) and the Flores Settlement Agreement. Allowing unaccompanied children to be deported more quickly risks returning them to the very violence and exploitation they fled. Undermining the Flores Agreement would wrongfully expand family and child detention in jail-like conditions.
- Reject policies that charge a fee or restrict work authorization for people seeking safety from violence and persecution.
- Ensure only asylum officers conduct Credible Fear Interviews (CFIs) and that they receive the proper training and support to uphold access to asylum protections. This includes the necessary translation services available for CFIs.
- Ensure human, just and orderly treatment of all seeking safety
- Ensure access to lawyers and humanitarian services and ensure all people are released with correct documents. Allow legal and humanitarian service providers access to all CBP facilities in order to administer Legal Orientation Programs/Know Your Rights presentations, to properly represent clients, and to coordinate travel and family reunification for asylum seekers. Ensure all people are processed and released with the correct and full documentation and with full knowledge of the nexts steps in their claim.
- Establish a more orderly and humane release procedure between DHS and local NGOs by providing ample, regular notice before releases and ensuring safe release conditions.
- Ensure short-term processing facilities adhere to strict standards in order to maintain the safety and wellbeing of those in DHS custody. Facilities must have licensed child welfare professionals, medical professionals, and interpreters, and must be fully equipped with portable water, appropriate food, separate and enclosed bathrooms/showers, and individual beds/cots. Short-term processing centers must not exceed custody time limits and must not function as additional child/family detention centers. All processing centers must provide timely medical screenings conducted by licensed medical care providers.
- Fully restore the Family Case Management Program (FCMP) which supports court appearance and compliance. This casework should be operated by non-profit entities.
- End family detention immediately and redirect resources into humane alternatives for asylum seekers and other vulnerable populations. Children should never be incarcerated or needlessly separated from a parent.
- End criminal prosecution of asylum seekers
- Address the root causes
Talking Points from: Interfaith Immigration Coalition, Border Policy Recommendations, June 2019. Link to full paper.
Where to volunteer and take action
- 10 Things you can do right now to help immigrants and refugees in Minnesota and beyond; By Jim Walsh at MinnPost; Feb 1, 2019.
- Write a letter to the editor
- Call your city council and other elected officials
- Join the Interfaith Coalition on Immigration for the monthly prayer vigil
- 2nd Tuesday of the month
- At the Whipple Federal Building
- 7:30-8:30am, then stay for court watch
- Support Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC)
- Support Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota
- Connect with the Interfaith Coalition on Immigration
- Connect with an Episcopal diocese on the southern border
Where to donate
- Pay the bond of an immigrant–they are more likely to have access to legal representation and keep their employment when out on bond.
- Minnesota Immigration Rights Action Committee
- Donate to ministries in our Episcopal dioceses on the southern border
- Diocese of West Texas
- Diocese of Rio Grande
If you have additional resources or have an idea for an event, please contact your Missioner for Community Engagement, Rachel Babbitt, at email@example.com.