Responding to Immigration Needs _ June 2019

To: GraceCity Community
From: Dr. Bob Bingham
Re: Children and Families at the border


Hello GraceCity friends and neighbors. Many of you have indicated a desire to respond substantively to the reports of conditions in facilities housing children and families at the border. Others wish to advocate for immigration policies that combine border security, justice, goodness, kindness and mercy. Here you will find several avenues to get involved. 

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The Southern Borders Communities Coalition lists many faith-based (and non-faith based) organizations that directly aid immigrant families on the southern border on this page.

Below you will find additional methods and links to strategize more ways to be involved, or to refer immigrants to in your network of relationships. We do not advocate for any political positions held by any of these groups. We simply seek to open doors for supporting children and families in ways that honor our call as followers of Christ. He championed children. You decide.

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If you desire to joina group of GC folks and other neighbors who will continue to pursue active response and presence in these arenas, please feel free to reach out to Pastor Bob at rcbingham@gracecitybaltimore.org. We’ll keep you in the loop.

Call Congress, your mayor and local representatives. Contact your representative and tell them you want detention conditions improved. You can also reach out to your local representatives to ask that they initiate plans to help immigrant communities around Maryland and beyond. This official government website has provided links to finding your city, county and town officials.

Share responsibly. Legal aid organizations have said that over the next few days there will be a surge of posts on social media that say ICE has been spotted. The group has urged that people verify these posts before sharing or retweeting because false alarms could spread fear in immigrant communities.

Support humanitarian efforts.  Many immigrants are not informed of their legal and civil rights as they pursue asylum or face deportation. Several nonprofits are providing free legal representation and other services for immigrants and the families of those detained. United We Dream, the American Civil Liberties UnionMijente and Immigrant Justice Corps are coordinating advocacy and services at a national level. Local organizations providing legal aid include New Sanctuary Coalition in New York, Las Americas in El Paso and Raices in Texas, Americans for Immigrant Justice in Florida and Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund in Colorado.

Inform yourself and your community. The A.C.L.U., who joined forces with Brooklyn Defender Services, has shared a “Know Your Rights” page for encounters with ICE. They have also provided a video to help understand your rights and what to do if ICE officials come to your home.

Hold political candidates accountable. While the presidential primaries are at least seven months away, you can prepare to cast your ballot for a more humane border policy by following what each candidate has shared about their plans for immigration reform.

Speak up. Protest marches and other civic actions to end squalid conditions for children and families, are expected across the country in the coming weeks. You can also take part in Lights for Liberty, a nationwide vigil on July 12 at 9 p.m. local time. 

[We will let you know more about a Baltimore site(s) for a corresponding vigil on July 12]

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